Masks or no masks? NC to provide COVID-19 update as cases surge

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and the Coronavirus Task Force are expected to address the possibility of new mask guidance Wednesday as COVID-19 cases surge statewide.

NCDHHS said it will announce new guidance, which is expected to include mask guidelines, for schools later this week.

On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that all students two and older wear masks in schools, regardless of their vaccination status.

The announcement was in contrast to the CDC’s new guidance that vaccinated teachers and students don’t need to wear masks inside school buildings.

With the Delta variant becoming the dominant strain across the United States and cases surging, some leaders have discussed the possibility of reinstating mask requirements in general.

Los Angeles and several California cities have gone back to mandatory mask wearing. Lawmakers in Arkansas and Missouri are also talking about reimposing the restriction.

Dr. David Wohl, an infectious disease specialist at UNC, said he believes it’s time for mask mandates to return in North Carolina. He said they should be required for vaccinated and unvaccinated people in places where vaccination status is unknown, like in stores and restaurants.

He said there’s no set number of cases, or a certain positivity rate that should be the threshold for the mask mandate.

“If the trend’s going down and you have the same numbers as we have today, that’s very different than the numbers going up,” Wohl said. “What we’re trying to do is not be reactive, but proactive.”

Governor Cooper’s news conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday. FOX 46 Charlotte will carry it live online and on Facebook.

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