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(WABNEWS) — New figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that about 28% of Americans live in counties where they need to wear masks in public. interiors, which is a significant decrease compared to previous metrics, which advised 99% of the country’s inhabitants to keep their masks on.
Previously, the CDC pointed to levels of coronavirus transmission in communities as a key metric for restrictions, recommending that people in areas with high or substantial levels of transmission — about 99% of the population — wear masks indoors.RELATED
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The CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels metrics are now based on three pieces of information: new COVID-19 hospitalizations, hospital capacity, and new cases. According to the updated guidelines, more than 70% of the US population is in places with low or medium community levels of COVID-19. For those areas, the use of masks indoors is not recommended, unless there is an “increased risk” of contracting covid-19. In that case, the CDC recommends that you talk to your health care provider about wearing a mask.
At all levels, the CDC recommends that people get vaccinated and boostered, and get tested if they have symptoms.
In areas with “high” levels, the CDC also advises wearing a mask indoors in public places, including schools. In areas with “medium” levels, the CDC advises talking to your doctor about wearing a mask if you’re at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. In areas with “low” community levels of covid-19 there is no recommendation to use masks.
The CDC notes that anyone who wants to wear a mask should continue to do so.
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“This new framework goes beyond just looking at cases and test positivity to assess factors that reflect disease severity — including hospitalizations and hospital capacity — and helps determine whether the level of COVID-19 and disease severity are low, medium or high in a community,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, told reporters during a briefing on Friday.
What do the CDC metrics say?
Counties with fewer than 200 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the past week are considered to have “low” community levels of COVID-19 if they have fewer than 10 new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 population or less than 10% of staffed hospital beds occupied by covid-19 patients on average in the last week.
Levels are “medium” if counties have between 10 and almost 20 new hospital admissions per 100,000 population or between 10% and 14.9% of staffed hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients on average in the last week.
Levels are considered “high” if counties have 20 or more new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 or at least 15% of staffed hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients on average in the last week.