CDC Updates COVID-19 Guidance, Strongly Urges People to Wear Masks in Large Gatherings

The agency said the new guidelines were not regulations but mere suggestions.
Loukia Papadopoulos
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On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new COVID-19 guidance at its first full briefing for the public in more than three months. Among the many recommendations made, the agency strongly urged attendees of large gatherings that involve shouting, chanting, or singing to use face masks.

RELATED: ASYMPTOMATIC SPREAD OF COVID-19 CAN OCCUR BUT IS 'VERY RARE,’ REVEALS WHO 

Not regulations

The CDC also provided guidance on how to reduce the risk of illness during everyday activities. Jay Butler, CDC’s deputy director of infectious diseases, said the new terms were simply recommendations, not regulations.

“They are not regulations. They are not commands," said Butler. "But they are recommendations or even suggestions … how you can have a gathering that will keep people as safe as possible.”

The CDC's official page on the new suggestions said that event planners in collaboration with state and local health officials could further determine whether and how to implement these guidelines.

"Because COVID-19 virus circulation varies in communities, these considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which gatherings must comply. Organizers should continue to assess, based on current conditions, whether to postpone, cancel, or significantly reduce the number of attendees for gatherings," said the CDC's new page.

Risk levels

The page also categorized activities by risk level. The lowest risk was given to virtual-only activities and events while the highest risk was given to large in-person gatherings where individuals can not maintain the 6 feet length of recommended distance.

The agency also encouraged people to promote healthy behaviors that reduce the spread of the virus such as staying at home when appropriate, proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, the use of face masks, adequate supplies for ensuring healthy hygiene, and the posting of signs reminding people of these crucial tips.

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