Biden health officials begin discussing mask recommendations as variants surge cases
(CNN) Top Biden health officials and some White House officials are holding preliminary conversations on revising mask recommendations for vaccinated Americans as the Delta variant spreads throughout the US, according to multiple sources familiar with discussions.
Officials have weighed whether guidance should be revisited after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped its mask mandate for vaccinated individuals earlier this year.
Under discussion is what messages on masking the White House offer and what guidance the CDC should issue, the sources say.
White House officials have repeatedly said it will be up to the CDC whether to change official guidance.
Administration officials insistent that science will guide the process, acutely aware that any official or non-official changes to mask rules would be a psychological blow for a country well into its second year of pandemic-related restrictions.
When President Joe Biden emerged in the Rose Garden in May to herald the CDC announcement that masks were no longer required for vaccinated Americans, he declared it "a great day in America;" new guidance to mask up would inevitably underscore the not-so-great predicament currently facing the nation.
But now that the Delta variant makes up over 80% of cases in the US, officials have weighed whether vaccinated people should begin wearing masks again indoors.
These discussions were given new urgency this week after the American Association of Pediatrics recommended that everyone over the age of 2 wear masks when they return to school.
One source familiar with the conversations said the administration is also considering recommendations that more heavily emphasize Americans should follow local guidance when it comes to wearing a mask indoors or for children at school.