HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – The CDC once again changed its mask guidance Tuesday, saying both unvaccinated and vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in high coronavirus transmission areas.
For 15-year-old Elijah Baron, masking up is one way to stop COVID-19 in its tracks.
“COVID is still rapidly changing, so if we want us as a whole nation to stop it, then I would just go with it and just wear the mask,” said Baron.
Baron made the decision to get his COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday. He said he will continue to wear a mask after he’s fully vaccinated since the shot isn’t 100% effective.
“I know there's people that are ignorant,” he said. “If you're going to be ignorant about it, then just don't come out, step outside your home, because I don't see the point in trying to get other people risking their jeopardy of their safety and their children of catching COVID.”
Others might soon follow suit.
The CDC is now recommending fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors again in communities with “substantial” and “high” transmission of COVID-19 cases to keep the virus from spreading, especially the highly contagious Delta variant.
A map on the CDC website shows the popular tourist city of Virginia Beach has a high level of community transmission.
“We are seeing this transmission where people are not wearing masks,” said News 3 medical expert Dr. Ryan Light. “The unvaccinated were still recommended to continue to wear masks, but when you have some people vaccinated and some people unvaccinated, everybody went without a mask, so that has caused this Delta variant to spread very quickly.”
The CDC said the latest mask guidance was a difficult decision that was based on the rare breakthrough infections, the prevalence of the Delta variant and the slow vaccination rate.
Some people said the constant changes are making them lose trust in the CDC.
“They need to decide on something and keep to it,” said Jessica Adkins of Norfolk. “That's the only way that it's going to go away.”
Jessica Adkins said she’ll keep wearing her mask in crowded areas and make sure her two daughters, Mackenzie, 5, and Gracelynn, 8, who are too young to get the vaccine, also mask up.
“I don't think that it would hurt anybody to continue wearing their masks, because I feel like that it protects not only against COVID-19, but also flu, cold, all of the other things that we get from human-to-human contact,” Adkins said.
The Virginia Department of Health and the governor’s office both said they’ll review the CDC’s updated guidance – adding getting vaccinated is the only way to end the pandemic.
VDH sent a statement that read:
The Virginia Department of Health will analyze the CDC's guidance once it is released. Virginia’s approach to COVID-19 has always been driven by the science, and we continue to emphasize that the only way out of this pandemic is through vaccination. If you haven't gotten your vaccine yet, do so now. It's easy to book an appointment through Vaccinate.Virginia.gov and Vaccines.gov, and it's free.
The governor’s office sent a statement that read:
As always, we will thoroughly review these recommendations when they are released. The Governor has taken a nuanced and data-driven approach throughout this pandemic, which is why Virginia has among the nation’s lowest total COVID-19 cases and death rates.
As he has said repeatedly, the only way to end this pandemic is for everyone to get vaccinated. The facts show vaccines are highly effective at protecting Virginians from this serious virus — over 98% of hospitalizations and over 99% of deaths have been among unvaccinated Virginians.