© Reuters. File picture: Overview of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tami Chappell/File Photo

David Shepson

WASHINGTON (Reuters)-The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday that 66.6% of the U.S. counties have a high enough COVID-19 transmission rate to ensure that masks are worn indoors and that the policy should be resumed immediately.

The transmission rate rose from 63.4% on Tuesday. According to the CDC, a total of 49.9% of U.S. counties have a high community transmission rate of COVID-19, and 16.7% of counties have a high transmission rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday cancelled the mask guidance policy for vaccinated Americans.

Mass transmission means that there were at least 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the past 7 days, and there were more than 100 high transmission cases per 100,000 people last week.

In the enhanced guidance issued earlier this month, the CDC also recommended that all students, teachers, and staff from kindergarten to 12th grade wear masks, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have been on the rise due to the highly contagious Delta variant, which was originally found in India but spread rapidly and now accounts for more than 80% of U.S. coronavirus cases.

However, the new CDC recommendations are not binding, and many Americans, especially in Republican-leaning states, may choose not to follow these recommendations.

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