Masks are once again required inside the White House and on the House side of the U.S. Capitol after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday recommended that all people wear masks when indoors in high-risk areas to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
The health orders were reimposed roughly a month after mask requirements were lifted for vaccinated individuals inside of the House of Representatives.
Brian Monahan, Congress’ attending physician, said while announcing the new policy that Congress represents “a collection of individuals traveling weekly from various risk areas.” He also said the highly contagious delta variant of the virus has been detected in D.C. and the Capitol buildings.
“Despite the excellent protective value of the coronavirus vaccine in preventing hospitalization and death, there is still a possibility a fully-vaccinated individual could acquire infection in their nose and throat, mild symptoms, or the ability to transmit the coronavirus infection to others,” Monahan said in an email shared by media outlet Punchbowl News.
Coronavirus cases have been rising across the U.S. with the help of the delta variant, which makes up more than 80% of cases, according to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
“This pandemic continues to pose a threat to all Americans,” Walensky said Tuesday at a news conference.
President Joe Biden said Tuesday that his administration is considering requiring all federal employees to get vaccinated.
More than 50 major health care organizations on Monday signed a letter urging health care and long-term care employers require their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. They called vaccination “the primary way to put the pandemic behind us and avoid the return of stringent public health measures.”