As the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread, particularly in Missouri, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance recommending masks for vaccinated individuals while indoors.
The updated guidance recommended face coverings for people in areas of substantial or high risk transmission. As of Aug. 5, only two counties do not fall under those categories, according to the CDC’s data: Schuyler and Worth.
Gov. Mike Parson called the updated CDC guidance “disappointing and concerning.”
“It’s disappointing because it is inconsistent with the overwhelming evidence surrounding the efficacy of the vaccines and their proven results. It only serves to disrupt the increases we are seeing in vaccine uptake. This self-inflicted setback encourages skepticism and vaccine hesitancy at a time when the goal is to prevent serious illnesses and deaths from COVID-19 through vaccinations,” Parson said. “It’s concerning because the nation’s top public health agency appears to be cowering to the political pressures of those who only want to force mandates and shutdowns, which only further prolong the recovery. This decision only promotes fear [and] further division among our citizens.”
As of Aug. 5, more than 14,300 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Missouri over the past week, and 47 people have died. Nearly 52 percent of the adult population in the state has completed vaccination.
As positive cases continue to rise in Missouri, here’s a look at where mask mandates have been reinstated.
Jackson County will reinstate its mask mandate beginning Aug. 9 for everyone who is at least 5 years old, regardless of vaccination status. The order will remain in effect for 30 days in an effort to stay in line with a new state law limiting emergency health orders to a 30-day period before requiring approval from the local governing body.
Kansas City reinstated its indoor mask mandate for individuals who are at least 5 years old — regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status — for the month of August.
“As long as transmission continues, variants will continue to develop. We don’t know what the next variant will look like, how virulent it will be, and that should concern everyone,” Kansas City Health Department Deputy Director Frank Thompson said. “Because less than 50 percent of Kansas City is vaccinated, and transmission is still occurring, Kansas Citians should wear a mask according to CDC guidance. The Kansas City metro area has so many jurisdictions, and few people stay in just one to live, work, and play. No matter where you travel to in the metro, please continue to mask up. This is one important way we can all protect each other.”
Attorney General Eric Schmitt has filed a lawsuit to block the mandate.
St. Louis city and county implemented an order requiring masks to be worn by all individuals over the age of 5 while indoors as of July 26. The order included vaccinated individuals and did not have an end date.
The St. Louis county council voted to overturn the mandate, citing a new law limiting the ability of local leaders to implement health orders, but County Executive Sam Page maintained the mandate is still in place unless a court overturns it.
Schmitt successfully got a St. Louis judge to grant a temporary restraining order, stalling the county’s order until a hearing later this month.
This story has been updated. It was originally published in 2020.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.