Fact Check

Yes, the CDC Just Reversed Its Policy on Wearing Masks Indoors

Even vaccinated individuals should be wearing masks in areas of high transmission rates.

Published July 27, 2021

Face mask signage is displayed outside the Trunks bar after midnight early Sunday morning on July 18, 2021 in West Hollywood, California. - Wearing a face mask at indoor public establishments will once again be mandatory in Los Angeles County starting at 11:59 pm July 17, 2021 for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people due to a steady increase in Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations, health authorities said. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images) (PATRICK T. FALLON / Contributor)
Image Via PATRICK T. FALLON / Contributor
On July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed its policy on wearing masks indoors in places with high COVID-19 transmission rates.

Snopes is still fighting an “infodemic” of rumors and misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and you can help. Find out what we've learned and how to inoculate yourself against COVID-19 misinformation. Read the latest fact checks about the vaccines. Submit any questionable rumors and “advice” you encounter. Become a Founding Member to help us hire more fact-checkers. And, please, follow the CDC or WHO for guidance on protecting your community from the disease.

After an uptick in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in late July 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reversed its mask policy, recommending that fully vaccinated people should resume wearing their masks indoors in places with high transmission rates.  

The announcement was made during a press meeting held over the phone on July 27. Additionally, the health agency said that children should also wear masks when going back to school in the fall, reported The Associated Press.

"The Delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 is surging in the United States. New data show Delta is different than past versions of the virus; it is much more contagious. While rare, some vaccinated people can get Delta in a breakthrough infection and may be contagious," wrote the CDC in an Instagram post.

"Unvaccinated people: get vaccinated and wear a mask until you do. Everyone in areas of substantial or high transmission should wear a mask, even if they are vaccinated."

In mid-May, the CDC said fully vaccinated people didn’t need to wear masks inside or outside. But the decision to revise that recommendation came after COVID cases, deaths, and hospitalization trends continued to increase during the summer as the delta variant, a mutated and more transmissible coronavirus strain, began to spread quickly.

According to the CDC, the delta variant has caused an estimated 75% of recent COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and will likely cause more. Experts still say that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection against the delta variant, but breakthrough cases have been reported in vaccinated individuals.

The CDC noted that their guidance is not enforceable at the federal level, and it is up to local officials to decide whether to reintroduce masks mandates.

Snopes contacted the CDC, and will update this article when a transcript of the briefing has been made available.

Madison Dapcevich is a freelance contributor for Snopes.

Article Tags