CHICAGO - The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) adopted new CDC mask guidelines on Tuesday for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, citing new information about the ability of the delta variant to spread by those who have been vaccinated.
The CDC is now recommending that vaccinated people wear masks indoors again in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging and that everyone in K-12 schools wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.
"While data continues to show the effectiveness of the three COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized in the U.S., including against the Delta variant, we are still seeing the virus rapidly spread among the unvaccinated," IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. "Cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 both continue to increase, overwhelmingly among the unvaccinated, but the risk is greater for everyone if we do not stop the ongoing spread of the virus and the Delta variant. We know masking can help prevent transmission of COVID-19 and its variants."
According to CDC, data shows the Delta variant is much more contagious. Delta spreads more than twice as easily from one person to another compared to other strains and is causing some vaccine breakthrough infections, but even so, most breakthrough infections are mild, and the vaccines are preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death, according to the CDC.
"I'm not surprised. This is what we expected considering the Delta variant has been an increasing problem around the country," Dr. Jeffrey Kopin, of Northwestern Medicine at Lake Forest Hospital said.
Chicago health officials also added nine more states to the city's COVID-19 travel advisory Tuesday due to an uptick in cases across the U.S.
Areas of high transmission are considered to be those with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period. The community level of transmission can be found here https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view.
IDPH will be updating school FAQs and other guidance posted online to reflect the latest CDC Interim Public Health Recommendations for Full Vaccinated People.