TRENTON - New Jersey is urging its residents to resume mask-wearing in certain indoor settings after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated mask-wearing guidance amid a spike in new COVID-19 infections propelled by the Delta variant.
"Our metrics are trending in the wrong direction, and new data suggests the Delta variant is more transmissible even among vaccinated individuals, which is why we are making this strong recommendation," Gov. Phil Murphy said in a joint statement with Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.
Residents are being asked to re-mask if they find themselves in crowded indoor settings, including indoor spaces where people are unvaccinated or their vaccination status is unknown. People are also urged to mask indoors around immunocompromised people.
"We have crushed this virus repeatedly like no other state in the nation, and we are proud to boast among the country’s highest vaccination rates," the joint statement read.
"But at this point, given where our metrics are now, we feel the best course of action is to strongly encourage every New Jerseyan, and every visitor to our state, to take personal responsibility and mask up indoors when prudent."
The CDC updated the community transmission map, which includes Gloucester, Burlington, Atlantic and Ocean counties in its "substantial" category."
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (Photo by Edwin J. Torres/Governor's Office)
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its mask guidelines Tuesday for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, citing new information about the ability of the delta variant to spread by those who have been vaccinated.
The CDC is now recommending that vaccinated people wear masks indoors again in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging and that everyone in K-12 schools wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the high transmissibility of the delta variant is behind the agency’s change in guidelines.
"Unlike the alpha variant that we had back in May, where we didn’t believe that if you were vaccinated you could transmit further - this is different now with the delta variant. And we’re seeing that now, infection is possible if you (have been vaccinated and) are a rare breakthrough infection, that you can transmit further, which is the reason for the change," she said.