95% of US counties now have high rates of COVID transmission

More than 97% of US counties are communities that should require masks indoors again, according to the CDC recommendation.

Jessica Rendall Wellness Writer
Jessica is a writer on the Wellness team with a focus on health news. Before CNET, she worked in local journalism covering public health issues, business and music.
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More than 95% of all US counties now have high levels of COVID-19 community transmission, or 100 or more COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The data show recent seven-day COVID-19 case averages for counties in the US. About 2% of the counties have substantial or significant COVID-19 transmission, or about 50 to 100 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people. 

This means that more than 97% of US counties are areas where people should be wearing masks indoors again, regardless of vaccination status, according to CDC's mask guidance. When the agency overturned its mask recommendation for fully vaccinated people in late July, it did so only for people who live in counties with high or substantial rates of COVID-19 transmission who were more at risk of contracting the virus and spreading it. Now, that's the vast majority of the country. 

Very few counties have low COVID-19 transmission, or less than 10 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week. Metropolitan counties with low transmission rates include Golden Valley in Montana and Dixon in Nebraska. 

The new COVID-19 data map of the US comes at the end of Labor Day weekend, a holiday weekend many people celebrate by traveling or spending time with family or friends. The average number of COVID-19 cases on Monday more than tripled compared with last Labor Day, and that number may grow after the holiday cases are taken into account, according to a CNN report on Johns Hopkins University data.

According to Sept. 7 data from the CDC, 64.3% of US adults are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, and 75% of US adults have now had at least one shot. The surge in COVID-19 cases is from the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, which is spurring a COVID-19 booster plan for the US and other parts of the world as it causes breakthrough cases in some vaccinated people.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.