White House may revise mask guidelines amid delta surge: report

Biden Administration Launches$500,000 Mask Innovation Contest.On Wednesday, the Biden administrationannounced a $500,000 contest to bolster involvementin the United States’ ongoing fight against COVID-19. .Inventors are beingencouraged to submitdesigns for effectiveeveryday face masks. .The contest is looking for designsthat are both “effective and comfortable” in order to encourage more people to wear masks. .We know that properly and consistentlyworn face masks help reduce the spreadof SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratoryinfections, but many people are reluctantto wear them for a variety of reasons, Nikki Bratcher-Bowman, HHS acting Assistant Secretaryfor Preparedness and Response, via Complex.The contest is in partnership with the BiomedicalAdvanced Research and Development Authority and theNational Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.It will be carried out in two phases: the first phaseasks for designs that meet “specific criteria”and solve the “hurdles” of wearing a mask. .Up to 10 ideas will be selectedto split a $100,000 prize. .Participants in phase two will be required topitch prototypes that meet criteria on filtration, fit, comfort and large-scale manufacturing. .Up to five winners will be chosento split that $400,000 prize.The winners will also receive access to BiomedicalAdvanced Research and Development Authority resourcesin order to finish their pitched prototypes

Top White House health officials are discussing revising mask recommendations for vaccinated Americans as cases of the highly contagious COVID delta variant continue surging across the nation.

The Washington Post first reported the renewed mask discussions.

During a CNN town hall Wednesday night, President Joe Biden expressed frustration over the nation’s slowing COVID-19 vaccination rate and said it’s “gigantically important” for Americans to get inoculated.

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“We have a pandemic for those who haven’t gotten the vaccination — it’s that basic, that simple,” he said.

Anonymous sources quoted by CNN said that under discussion is what messages on masking the White House offer and what guidance the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should issue. White House officials have repeatedly said it will be up to the CDC whether to change its official recommendations.

Earlier this week, CNN reported the American Association of Pediatrics recommended everyone over the age of 2 wear masks when they return to school.

Earlier this month, the CDC said vaccinated teachers and students don’t need to wear masks inside school buildings. That announcement came amid a national vaccination campaign in which children as young as 12 became eligible to get shots, as well as a decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.

Now, however, the delta variant is making up more than 80 percent of all COVID cases in the nation.

ExploreTexas governor won’t order mask mandate even as COVID-19 cases rise

Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested on “CBS This Morning” that parents follow the new COVID-19 guidance for mask-wearing issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics. That guidance differs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation that only unvaccinated children and adults wear masks in schools.