The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told Fox News on Tuesday that the agency has “no plans to update” mask use recommendations. The comment comes after Dr. Anthony Fauci said earlier Tuesday the CDC was “carefully looking” at its guidance relating to mask use in schools after the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) broke from federal health guidance, advising anyone above the age of 2 wear masks inside schools to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, “regardless of vaccination status.”
“CDC has no plans to update any guidance regarding masks,” Kristen Nordlund, CDC spokeswoman, told Fox News.
The CDC has advised masks should be worn indoors by all individuals ages 2 and older who are not fully vaccinated against coronavirus. The CDC stated that those who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, including while participating in extracurricular activities or while eating. However, it noted that based on the needs of the community, a school may opt to make mask use universally required regardless of vaccination status.
“[Parents] should do what has been locally asked for,” Fauci told CBS co-hosts, calling the AAP’s masking recommendations “the extra step of caution.”
“That is a bit different from the CDC guidelines but right now the CDC is carefully looking at that and hopefully we’ll have some now concordance of the recommendations,” Fauci added, citing the “high degree of infection dynamics” behind the pediatric group’s recommendations.
A spokesperson for AAP reiterated to Fox News that the group’s universal masking recommendation stems from reasons like a “significant portion of the student population not eligible for vaccination, to protect unvaccinated students and reduce transmission, [ease] potential difficulty in monitoring or enforcing mask policies, potential low vaccine uptake in the community and continued concerns for variants more easily spread among children, adolescents and adults.”
COVID-19 cases are rising across all 50 states due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky last week warned that the outbreak in the U.S. is becoming “a pandemic of the unvaccinated” because nearly all hospital admissions and deaths are among those who hadn’t been immunized.
Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been authorized for use in kids ages 12 and up. The companies said they plan to request for emergency use authorization in kids ages 5-11 in the fall.
If the U.S. manages to suppress the pandemic over time, Fauci believes schools will not require COVID-19 vaccination, adding, “but if we go into this year and the next year, and we see we still have a problem with this, it very well might be required.”
Fox News’ Greg Norman, Alexandria Hein and the Associated Press contributed to this report.