Biden administration says masks no longer universally necessary in healthcare settings

Masks still "recommended" under certain circumstances.

Updated: September 28, 2022 - 3:15pm

The Biden Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this month that it was no longer recommending universal mask-wearing in healthcare settings around the country, though it said there were still some circumstances where masking might be appropriate. 

The CDC said in a quietly released guidance document that "when SARS-CoV-2 Community Transmission levels are not high, healthcare facilities could choose not to require universal source control," a change from earlier guidance that stipulated the universal deployment of masks in all healthcare settings. 

The agency allowed that those within healthcare settings were still urged to wear masks under a variety of settings, including if they "have suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection or other respiratory infection" and if they "reside or work on a unit or area of the facility experiencing a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak."

"Individuals might also choose to continue using source control based on personal preference, informed by their perceived level of risk for infection based on their recent activities ... and their potential for developing severe disease," the CDC added. 

The agency said the updates were made to reflect "the high levels of vaccine-and infection-induced immunity and the availability of effective treatments and prevention tools."