After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that fully vaccinated Americans wear masks indoors if they live in coronavirus hot spots, Illinois officials and residents are pondering the path forward for the state.
The CDC made the recommendation change on Tuesday, saying that the delta variant has changed the calculus on wearing masks. The office says some vaccinated individuals could potentially carry higher levels of the virus than previously understood, and could play a role in spreading it to others.
The agency recommended that students, teachers and staff wear masks in schools this fall, regardless of vaccination status.
The Illinois Department of Public Health says that it will align its standards with that of the CDC, aiming to stop the spread of the delta variant with the start of school just weeks away.
Some parents were in favor of the new proposed rules on mask wearing.
“It is a problem with me when I see people sending their kids to school without a mask,” Mirando Hofreiter, a parent in the Barrington school district, said.
Other parents say that the reversal on mask policies is unnecessary.
“It is my child. I can keep them healthy. I can decide if they should wear a mask or get vaccinated,” Anastasia Simoncelli said.
State health officials are keeping a wary eye on COVID numbers in the state, with the delta variant expected to become the dominant strain of the virus in Illinois in the coming weeks.
Elsewhere in the US, cases are growing at an even faster rate, leading Chicago to add nine more states and the US Virgin Islands onto its travel advisory list, bringing the total number of states on the list to 14.
Health officials say that while cases are expected to continue to rise, they do want residents to continue to get their COVID vaccines, saying it can help to blunt the spread of the delta variant.
The Chicago Department of Public Health is expanding its in-home vaccination program, offering financial incentives to residents to get the shots, including $25 Visa gift cards to anyone who takes advantage of the city’s home vaccination program.