CDC drops a shocker
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said fully vaccinated people can ditch their masks when hanging outdoors. However, they should stay in small groups.
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CDC Director Rochelle Walensky outlined the new guidance during Tuesday’s press conference in the White House. This guidance relies on previous updates from the CDC about the activities people can do once fully vaccinated.
“Today is another day we can take a step back to the normalcy of before. Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time telling Americans what they cannot do, what they should not do,” Walensky said. “Today, I’m going to tell you some of the things you can do if you are fully vaccinated.”
The guidance has a color-coded chart with activities for vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens indoors and outdoors, with and without facemasks.
The CDC suggests that fully vaccinated people aren’t required to wear facemasks during small gatherings outside even if there’s a combo of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
Here’s more. Eating at an outdoor restaurant with friends is a safe activity for vaccinated people to do without wearing a facemask, the agency suggests.
“The release of these new guidelines is a first step at helping fully vaccinated Americans resume what they had stopped doing because of the pandemic, at low risk to themselves, while being mindful of the potential risk of transmitting the virus to others,” the CDC said.
Last month, the agency said it was safe for vaccinated people to gather with friends indoors with other fully vaccinated friends without a facemask. They can also visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household.
The CDC says fully vaccinated people are those who have received the second vaccine of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots two weeks prior. The same goes for those who have received the single dose of Johnson & Johnson two weeks prior.
About 42% of all Americans have received at least one shot of the vaccine. About 30% have been fully vaccinated.
The CDC said each individual should consider their own situation and the risk to themselves, their loved ones, and those around them before gathering without a facemask.
Vaccinated people should wear a facemask outdoors when surrounded by too many people. They should wear a mask indoors in malls, houses of worship, or a small indoor gathering with unvaccinated and unvaccinated people.
The risk of getting COVID-19 is much lower outdoors, especially if everyone follows the social distance guidance. Experts really question the need for wearing a facemask outdoors given the increasing number of citizens who are fully vaccinated.
Public experts call for the CDC to change the guidance on outdoor activities. The infections have dropped and many people got their vaccine. However, some believe we should wear our masks for longer.
The CDC has yet to change the guidelines for unvaccinated people. The agency says they should wear a mask outdoor in public spaces.
“Masks may not be necessary when you are outside by yourself away from others, or with people who live in your household,” the current guidance states.
“However, some areas may have mask mandates while out in public, so please check the rules in your local area (such as in your city, county, or state),” it adds.
Some US states instituted strict mask mandates for indoor and outdoor activities even when people are alone. Some are trying to lift the mandates. Walensky encourages governors to make a difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. The same goes for small outdoor gatherings and large groups like concerts or sporting events. A lot of unvaccinated people go there, too.
“I think we have to say, no need for blanket outdoor mask mandates,” Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University, said in an e-mail.
She said that the World Health Organization says facemasks aren’t needed outside unless people can’t maintain physical distance of at least three feet.
“If you are vaccinated, it’s fine to take off your mask any time outdoors, even if you are around others,” Wen said. “If you are unvaccinated, you should keep three feet away from others who are also unvaccinated, or are of unknown vaccination status when outdoors; if you cannot maintain 3 feet distance, you should wear a mask.”
Source: The Hill