NC public health leader reacts to CDC’s mask update: ‘Wearing a mask is caring’


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The CDC is urging people to wear masks again, whether they are vaccinated or not.

They want people to mask up in high-transmission areas and in all K-12 settings.

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“This is not a decision that we or CDC have made lightly,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director.

The CDC is now urging everyone in high-transmission areas to wear masks again indoors. In a CDC map, red and orange counties fall into that category, which includes Wake, Lee, Harnett, Chatham and Johnston counties.

“Wearing a mask is caring. It can’t be about you. It has to be about you willing to do what’s right for society,” said Rod Jenkins, director of Durham County Public Health.

Everyone in K-12 settings is also now asked to wear a mask again.

“I was delighted to hear this news was coming out, particularly that we’re so close to the majority of our students are going back to school. We certainly want to make sure our kids are safe,” said Jenkins.

The CDC recommendation comes as the Delta variant’s led cases to jump more than 200 percent in two weeks in North Carolina.

“This variant is in a survival of the fittest type situation. It needs a host. It needs people in order to continue to do its damage,” said Jenkins.

Durham County is not considered a high-transmission area. Jenkins said because of that, he’s not bringing back a mask mandate at this time.

“We are in a wait and see type mode. We certainly want to monitor our current situation to make sure we make the right decision for our residents,” said Jenkins.

He said if you are asked to wear a mask, don’t hesitate.

“For the most part if it’s going to help for the greater good, then why not? It’s just a mask. It’s not something you’re unfamiliar with. It’s not something you haven’t dealt with in the past 18 months,” said Jenkins.

Unlike other variants, Delta can be transmitted from vaccinated people.

Wake County said it recommends everyone follow CDC guidance.

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