The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends fully vaccinated people again wear masks in most indoor settings, but with a significant asterisk. That guidance, a reversal from two months ago after new transmissibility data and a spike in cases nationwide because of the Delta variant, refers specifically to states with counties having a high or substantial rate of transmission.
Remember, these are only recommendations, not mandates. COVID-19 mask policies are left to state and local authorities.
For now, as you’ll see below, Connecticut and much of the Northeast do not fall in either the high or substantial transmission classification.
“I’m the one guy still wearing a mask in the grocery store,” says Dr. Ulysses Wu, Hartford HealthCare’s System Director of Infection Disease and Chief Epidemiologist. “There’s good science behind this.”
Here are some states that, based on the CDC’s updated guidance, should consider asking all residents to wear masks indoors. (Information provided by the CDC.)
States With a High Rate of Transmission
States with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people or higher than 10 percent positivity rate (with positivity rate in parenthesis):
- Alaska (6.1 percent).
- Nevada (16.4 percent).
- Arizona (11.3 percent).
- Oklahoma (16.4 percent).
- Texas (13.2 percent).
- Mississippi (15.9 percent).
- Missouri (13.9 percent).
- Tennessee (10.9 percent).
- Georgia (9.5 percent).
States with all counties considered high transmission:
- Florida (16.5 percent).
- Louisiana (14.2 percent).
- Arkansas (10.4 percent).
States With a Substantial Rate of Transmission
States averaging 50 to 99 cases per 100,000 people or an 8 percent to 9.9 percent positivity rate (with positivity rate in parenthesis):
- California (4.6 percent).
- Oregon (4.9 percent)
- Washington (3.9 percent).
- Colorado (4.0 percent).
- New Mexico (3.9 percent).
- Illinois (3.7 percent).
States With a Moderate Rate of Transmission
States averaging 10 to 49 cases per 100,000 people or an 5 percent to 8 percent positivity rate (with positivity rate in parenthesis):
- Michigan (3.7 percent).
- Ohio (3.3 percent).
- Pennsylvania (3.0 percent).
- Maryland (2.4 percent).
- Connecticut (2.1 percent).
- Massachusetts (1.5 percent).
These states are not part of the CDC’s new mask recommendation.
Note: No states are considered at a low rate of transmission.
Where Connecticut Ranks
Information provided by the COVID Risk & Vaccine Tracker, available from COVID Act Now — a nonprofit affiliated with Georgetown, Stanford and Harvard universities:
- Positivity rate: 7th-lowest (2.1 percent).
- Daily new cases: 12th-lowest (6.2 per 100,000 people).
- Vaccinated, at least one dose: Fourth-highest (69 percent of the population).
- Vulnerability level: Very low.
The state requires masks indoors for the unvaccinated. Masks are also required in all healthcare facilities, schools, childcare and other specified settings. Businesses and state and local government offices also can require masks.