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CDC says you should always wear a mask indoors, except in your own home

The agency releases its guidance as coronavirus cases in the US continue to surge at an alarming rate.


The CDC now says to always wear a mask indoors everywhere except your own home.

Sarah Tew/CNET

On a day when the US reported a record-shattering 200,000 new cases of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated guidance (PDF) that says, in no uncertain terms, that everyone in the country should always wear a mask indoors whenever they're not in their own home. 

This includes visiting the homes of family or friends, particularly with the holiday season approaching.

This is the strongest guidance the CDC has released so far with regard to masks. Previously, the CDC recommended that "people age 2 and older should wear masks in public settings and when around people who don't live in their household." 

In fact, at first the CDC indicated masks should be worn primarily to protect others in the event that the wearer was unknowingly positive for the coronavirus. The agency then updated its guidance in November to reflect new research demonstrating that masks offer protection for the wearer as well.

Most public-health experts say they anticipate the continued need for safety measures like universal masking, social distancing and regular hand washing until one or more coronavirus vaccines can bring an end to the pandemic. There are two COVID-19 vaccines on the cusp of Food and Drug Administration authorization in the US, and Britain has already approved a coronavirus vaccine.

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.