Mask mandates of the state have stepped into yet another level, where the US Centers for Disease Control and Preventions have added one more clause. The recent CDC color-coded mapping, for measuring the levels of transmission in any county will be able to guide as to what level, masking is required.
Measures Of Positivity-CDC Paves New “High” And “Low” Limits
The CDC website has been updated where the county men can actually see how serious the viral situation is around them. The CDC has introduced a four-tier system that can measure how low, moderate, substantial, or high levels of transmission are there in any locality. Specific color codes adhere to each level on the map. Depending on the status shown, masks are recommended. CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen said that such determinations of how much active the virus is in any county will help people better understand the risk they are in. However, she added that it could have included the vaccination rates linking masking requirements too.
The level of transmission in any county depends on two measures: the number of new cases per 100,000 people and the rates of positivity. Both are measured for a span of seven days. A “Low” transmission means where there are cases less than 10 per 100,000 people or have a measure of positivity of less than 5%. The color coding for this is blue.
Cases between 10-50 people per 100,000 cases or with a rate of 5% to 8% will fall under the “Moderate” transmission group. These are represented by yellow. “Substantial” transmission is where there are 50 to 100 cases per 100,000 with a positivity rate of 8% and 10 %; orange marks these areas. A transmission is “high” when the cases are 100 or more per 100,000 people or a positive rate measuring 10% or higher.
The color code for high transmission areas is red. Since the size of a county is small, it is better to check the status on the website of a city, state, or municipal health department. For a county with two different transmission levels, the CDC will approve of the higher metric.
Although this new system of measuring since May is a step forward to determine how masking is important for all irrespective of their vaccination status, it still points at the unvaccinated populations, as they are at a much higher risk of getting infected as well as spreading the illness. As determined by the health officials of CDC, about 50% of the counties have high transmission, 17% substantial, 27% have moderate transmissions, and only 9% fall in the low transmission category.
However, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, is not very positive about this approach. He said, that the number that are been accounted for is only a fraction of the total population.
Most tests are been conducted at homes and the ones with mild symptoms are not going into testing, resulting in large portions of undocumented data. Only the people with severe symptoms are taken into consideration. Hence, the measure is just an approximated result.
Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, also said that it is not only the rates that count, hospitalizations and the deaths also do. And with a limit of 100 cases per 100,000 people, which is an extremely low estimate, it is soon going to reach the red limit, as the cases are rising constantly. He does not find the map too useful.