The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday said that fully vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks outdoors and can avoid wearing masks indoors, with a handful of exceptions.
CDC’s new guidelines on mask-wearing come amid a sharp drop in the number of COVID-19 cases in US and expansion of vaccination drive to children ages 12 and older.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor or outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing. If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
According to the revised guidelines, fully vaccinated people will not need to physically distance in most places but people should wear masks where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, and abide by such rules and regulations, including from local businesses and workplace guidance.
Hailing the new recommendations, US President Joe Biden said this is a milestone in the nation’s fight to beat back the pandemic.
"I think it's a great milestone. A great day. It's been made possible by the extraordinary success we've had in vaccinating so many Americans so quickly," Biden said on Thursday.
CDC decision also stems from the fact that the new guidelines will encourage more Americans to get vaccinated. According to the Financial Times COVID-19 vaccine tracker, the US has administered over 262.1 million total doses of vaccines till May 12. The percentage of vaccinations per 100 people also stands at 79.8 per cent. About 46.9 per cent of the total population has received at one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while 35.8 has been fully vaccinated.
President Biden said that 50 million vaccine shots have been given in 114 days.
“Cases are down in 49 of 50 states New York Times has reported that hospitalizations are the lowest they've been since April of 2020, over a year ago, right after the start of the pandemic. Deaths are down 80 per cent and also at their lowest level since April of 2020," Biden said
So if you are fully vaccinated, here what you can do under new recommendations:
You can start going out without a mask on your face. You can start indulging in things or activities that you were doing before the pandemic hit the world. This includes a wide range of indoor activities like restaurant dining, attending church, getting a haircut, drinking at a bar, going to a gym and movies. Anything outdoors is fine too and you don’t have to worry about the social distancing.
Although it is still not back to business as usual. If you travel on any form of public transportation including planes, buses and trains then you will still require to wear a mask. Doctors offices, hospitals, nursing homes, will likely still require masks. Some local governments and businesses are likely to continue requiring masks, at least in the immediate future.
If you are not fully vaccinated, here what CDC new guidelines say:
If your friends and family are all vaccinated, you can join them in small outdoor gatherings without masks. You can walk, run, or hike outdoors with members of your household without masks.
But you will have to mask up if others at an event are unvaccinated. All those indoor activities that are safe for vaccinated people, are not safe for people who are not fully vaccinated. Likewise with the outdoor activities.