US counties reach COVID transmission rates requiring masks

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US counties reach COVID transmission rates requiring masks

Nearly 90 percent of US counties now have COVID-19 transmission rates that meet the CDC’s threshold for recommended indoor mask use — even for those who have been fully vaccinated, the latest figures show.

About 72.5 percent of counties are currently reporting “high” community transmission, while another 16.5 are seeing “substantial” infection rates, according to ABC.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people in counties with either “high” or “substantial” rates practice indoor masking regardless of their immunization status.

“Based on emerging evidence on the Delta variant, CDC also recommends that fully vaccinated persons wear masks in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission,” according to the agency’s guidance.

Louisiana currently has the nation’s highest infection rate, followed by Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma and Missouri, according to federal figures.

Students wearing masks.
Some 72.5 percent of counties are currently reporting “high” community transmission, while another 16.5 percent are seeing “substantial” infection rates.
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Overall, the United States is seeing 100,000 new COVID-19 cases a day for the first time since February.

That figure had hit a hopeful low of 11,000 in June. But now the alarming surge is being driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant, exploding cases in Southern states.

Some observers have stressed that vaccination rates are lagging in those areas of the country.

A medical worker wears a face mask inside a pizzeria.
The US is seeing 100,000 new COVID-19 cases a day for the first time since February.
Getty Images

Officials in several states have said spiraling infection rates are rapidly filling up hospital beds and threatening to overwhelm health care systems.

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