CDC Recommends Vaccinated People Wear Masks Inside Again

Today, in response to the continued spread of the Delta variant in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidance that recommends that vaccinated people in areas with “substantial” or “high” transmission resume wearing masks in public indoor settings. The recommendation reverses the relaxation of masking guidance issued two months ago. The guidance also recommends universal masking in K-12 schools for teachers, staff, students, and visitors regardless of vaccination status.

The CDC defines “substantial” transmission as 50-100 cases per 100,000 people over seven days and “high” transmission as 100 or more cases per 100,000 people over seven days. You can check your county’s transmission status on the CDC’s website here. As of this morning, the CDC data shows nearly half (46%) of US counties currently have high transmission and 17% have “substantial” transmission. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended the policy today, saying the U.S. is “at war” with COVID-19 and the Delta variant. “The reality is we are dealing with a much different strain of this virus than we were even earlier in the spring,” she told reporters at a White House briefing.

President Biden expressed hope that Americans will follow the new guidance. “Today’s announcement by the CDC—that new research and concerns about the Delta variant leads CDC to recommend a return to masking in parts of the country—is another step on our journey to defeating this virus. I hope all Americans who live in the areas covered by the CDC guidance will follow it; I certainly will when I travel to these areas,” Biden said in a written statement.

Biden will also reportedly announce on Thursday a requirement that all federal employees and contractors be vaccinated, or be required to submit to regular testing and mitigation requirements. The announcement will come in remarks where Biden is also expected to lay out a series of new steps, including incentives, in an attempt to spur new vaccinations.

The CDC guidance is not enforceable. States will be left to enforce any mask mandates at their discretion. MBS will closely follow any updates from the state level.

If you have questions about this infrastructure announcement, please contact Mike Dankler at or Lucia Alonzo at



Michael Best Strategies (Strategies) helps companies accelerate their success through a combination of strategic business consulting, lobbying, government relations, public affairs, and communications. The firm has thrived by providing a diverse team of professionals with the experience, skills, and relationships necessary to help each client achieve their goals more quickly and fully.
Bio Link Lucia is an experienced government relations professional with more than 10 years of experience effectively advocating for her clients on Capitol Hill. She helps clients develop and execute short- and long-term policy strategies to achieve their business objectives. Expertise: Government Relations, Public Policy, Legislative Process, Community Outreach, and Research
Bio Link As a Principal on Michael Best Strategies’ Government Relations team, Mike leverages more than a decade of experience on Capitol Hill to help businesses influence positive outcomes through the legislative process. Expertise: Government Relations, Legislative Process, Policy Advocacy, Stakeholder Engagement, and Communications