The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants at least "a third of the U.S. population" to wear masks indoors, even though it won't say whether the pandemic will get worse, the Associated Press reported Thursday.
While the CDC said COVID-19 cases are increasing in the Northeast and the Midwest, the agency is urging local leaders around the country "to encourage use of prevention strategies like masks in public indoor settings," Director Rochelle Walensky said.
The agency was reluctant to make "concrete predictions," however, saying it is unsure "to what degree previous infections will protect against new variants."
While COVID-19 hospitalizations are slowly rising, they are much lower than during the Omicron wave, Walensky said.
Many Democratic officials, including White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci, have repeatedly gone maskless at public gatherings even while they tell Americans to wear face coverings. Fauci last month publicly fumed at the court ruling that overturned the federal travel mask mandate, calling it "disturbing" that a federal judge can overrule the CDC.
Studies have shown that wearing masks, particularly cloth masks, have little effect on the spread of COVID-19. Nearly half of all parents, meanwhile, say that mandated mask wearing in schools has harmed their children.