The C.D.C. director reaffirms that vaccinated people in the U.S. don’t need masks in most situations.

By Daniel E. Slotnik and Dan Levin

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday stood by advice that people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus do not need to wear masks in most situations, but added that there are instances where local authorities might impose more stringent measures to protect the unvaccinated.

The comments came after the World Health Organization recently reiterated longstanding guidance that everyone, vaccinated or not, wear masks and take other precautions, following a global surge in infections of the highly contagious Delta variant. On Monday, Los Angeles County recommended that even fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors.

In May, the C.D.C. advised that fully vaccinated Americans could forgo masks in most settings. The agency’s director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, said during multiple television appearances on Wednesday that local changes to masking and distancing rules were consistent with those guidelines.

“We have always said that this virus is an opportunist, and in areas where we still have rates of low vaccination, that is where the virus is likely to take hold,” she said on “Good Morning America.” “We are still seeing uptick of cases in areas of low vaccination, and in that situation we are suggesting that policies be made at the local level.”

Dr. Walensky added that the W.H.O.’s blanket suggestion that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals wear masks was informed by its global purview. “The W.H.O. really does have to make recommendations for an entire world,” and many countries have far less access to vaccines than the United States, she said.

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