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CDC Says Wear a Mask in These States

The Delta variant has changed the game.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

With the new Delta variant proving more transmissible and more aggressive than previous forms of COVID-19, the CDC now recommends even vaccinated people wear a mask indoors when in areas of "substantial or high transmission." It's a precaution because "these vaccines operate really well in protecting us from severe disease and death, but the big concern is that the next variant that might emerge — just a few mutations potentially away — could potentially evade our vaccines," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a Tuesday press briefing. So where are these areas? Read on to see which states made the list. And to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.


All of Florida is an Area of "High Transmission"

Miami seaside photos Miami city

Florida is leading the country in cases right now. The state has not only the Delta variant but now a new one out of Colombia, says an expert. "The Colombian variant may sound like the next concern in the COVID-19 crisis, but in South Florida, it's already here," according to Channel 10. "Carlos Migoya, CEO of Jackson Health, revealed that now 10% of COVID-positive patients whose results are being sequenced at the University of Miami's pathology lab have a strain that originated out of Colombia." "And here's a real shocking thing that's spreading in Colombia quite a bit," Migoya told Local 10 News. "And they haven't seen it anywhere else outside of Colombia. Well, guess what? In the last week, 10% of our patients had the Colombian variant. Why? Because of the travel between Colombia and Miami." The B.1.621 variant has not been given a Greek name yet, like Delta.


All of Louisiana is an Area of "High Transmission"

Pubs and bars with neon lights in the French Quarter,

"Coronavirus cases and COVID-related hospitalizations continue to rise in Louisiana, building into an alarming fourth wave that shows no signs of slowing down," reports NOLA. "A few months into mass vaccination efforts, officials began to worry that a summer surge might take form in Louisiana. 

Currently, COVID-19 cases are increasing faster than ever before in Louisiana. The delta variant accounts for 83% of all coronavirus cases in Louisiana, which increased by 4,043 more confirmed cases on Tuesday. In the last week alone, confirmed cases increased by 121%."


All of Arkansas is an Area of "High Transmission"

Arkansas flag flying high beside the State Capitol Building

"As hospitals around the state report operating at full capacity, new data from the Arkansas Department of Health shows the state just had its deadliest day since March in terms of COVID-19," reports KARK. "The ADH report shows 23 deaths in the last 24 hours, the highest death count from the virus since March 12 when 27 new deaths were reported. Health officials reported 621 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count down to 375,971. The active case count dropped to 14,627."


All of Missouri is an Area of "High Transmission"

St. Louis downtown skyline at twilight from top view

"Southwest Missouri's biggest health department is focusing its efforts on an increase of COVID-19 infections among kids younger than 12 — an age group not yet eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine," according to St. Louis Today. "Springfield-Greene County Health Director Katie Towns said Tuesday the department was turning its limited disease investigation capacity to children as the region continued to see a surge in infections, hospitalized patients and deaths." "We've seen a rise in cases in that 0-11 age group, and we've also seen outbreaks in settings like day cares and camps," Towns said. "We've moved to prioritize those types of cases so we can hopefully control disease spread among those who are most vulnerable." 


Most of Alabama is an Area of "High Transmission"

Montgomery Alabama

"Three Alabama counties – including two neighboring counties in south Alabama – combined for more than 1,000 of the state's new COVID cases overnight," reports "Alabama added 2,667 new COVID cases overnight, the highest daily total in nearly 6 months. Of those new cases, 1,089 came from three counties: Baldwin, Jefferson and Mobile. Baldwin added 291 cases while neighboring Mobile had a state-high 490 cases. Jefferson County added 308 cases. No other county saw case increases in the triple digits."


Most of Mississippi is an Area of "High Transmission"


"Mississippi health officials reported Monday that the state is seeing its highest number of new COVID-19 cases in months as the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread," reports WTVA. "The state is also experiencing a sharp increase in the percentage of positive tests." "COVID-19 testing has jumped statewide, and positive results are a LOT higher. Our positivity rate is now the same as it was during the worst of COVID-19 in January. Delta is hitting hard," the Mississippi State Department of Health posted on Twitter.


Most of Tennessee is an Area of "High Transmission"

Neon signs on Lower Broadway Area on November 11, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee, USA

"More than half of the state's Senate Republican Caucus signed a letter Tuesday urging Tennesseans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, a sudden acceleration of pro-vaccine rhetoric from leading conservatives as hospitalizations from the virus have begun to rapidly increase," reports the Tennessean. "While statewide vaccination rates have stalled, the delta variant of the virus is causing coronavirus cases to surge in Tennessee." "The vaccines have been found to be safe and effective against COVID-19," wrote 16 of the 27 Republican state senators. "If they had been available from the start and widely used, over 600,000 American families that are mourning the loss of a loved one, along with tens of thousands of people who are awaiting lung transplants, or trying to learn to walk again, would have avoided that heartache."

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Most of South Carolina is an Area of "High Transmission"

Charleston, South Carolina, USA town skyline.

"South Carolina's governor said while getting the COVID-19 vaccine was the right decision for him, other people reluctant to get the shot need to talk to friends, pastors and doctors and decide if it is best for them," reports WJCL.
"Gov. Henry McMaster's comments came as statistics show both good news and bad news with the pandemic. The average number of new COVID-19 cases has doubled in the past two weeks to about 410 cases a day and the rate shows no sign of slowing down."

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Much of Wyoming is an Area of "High Transmission"

Sunrise at Devils Tower, Wyoming

"On Friday, the Wyoming Department of Health announced that around 93% of the state's coronavirus-related hospitalizations have been individuals who aren't fully vaccinated against COVID-19," reports Buckrail. "Around 32% of Wyoming's population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the Wyoming COVID hospitalization tracker, 70 people across the state were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday. Nearly half of those patients (33) were in the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center."

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Anywhere in Red Here is Considered an Area of "High Transmission"; Anywhere Orange is Considered "Substantial"


To see how bad it is in your county, look up your county right here on the CDC website. Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area of high transmission, wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered when indoors, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek