As vaccines are providing a barrier against the virus that has taken millions of lives and left millions more suffering, the CDC is allowing fully vaccinated Americans to enjoy a little bit of freedom without their masks.
As the pandemic continues to sweep across nations, people are made to don a mask to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. But with vaccines being rolled out by the millions to help people stay safe from the virus, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has come up with a new guideline regarding the use of masks, according to CBS News. On April 27, 2021, the organization updated the rules to state that Americans who are fully vaccinated can safely attend outings and small gatherings without needing to wear masks. It is important to note that people are considered fully vaccinated only once they receive their second dose of the vaccine from authorized organizations such as Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen.
As per the official CDC website and an infographic provided, the new "interim public health recommendations" for fully vaccinated people include them being able to:
- engage in activities such as walking, running, hiking, or biking outdoors alone or with family members
- attend small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated loved ones
- attend small outdoor gatherings with a mix of fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people
- dine at outdoor restaurants with friends from various households
Though these new rules ease a bit of the restriction, individuals are urged to continue wearing masks in most indoor settings and crowded outdoor areas. Yet, federal authorities believe that this slight relaxation might encourage people to get their vaccination done, especially after many of them skipped their second dose, according to The Wall Street Journal. President Biden said in a speech that the nation had made “stunning progress” in the battle against the virus, as per the outlet.
However, “For those who haven’t gotten their vaccination yet, especially if you’re younger or think you don’t need it, this is another great reason to go get vaccinated. Now. Now,” the POTUS said. “Yes, the vaccines are about saving your life. But also the lives of the people around you. But they’re also about helping us get back to closer to normal. So go get the shot. It’s never been easier,” he added. “And once you’re fully vaccinated, you can go without a mask when you’re outside and away from big crowds.”
According to The New York Times, CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, told reporters at a White House briefing, "I know the quarantine and shutdowns throughout the pandemic have been exhausting. I know we all miss the things we used to do before the pandemic, and I know we all want to do the things we love and soon. Today is another day we can take a step back to the normalcy of before," before listing out the updated guidelines. "I am optimistic that people will use this information to take personal responsibility to protect themselves and protect others," she said. “We no longer feel that the vaccinated people require masks outdoors,” outside “large public venues, such as concerts, stadiums and things like that.”
Once this statement was given, governors in the states of California, New York, Louisiana, Maine, and Massachusetts began to scrap outdoor mask rules. In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, took it a step further and told the people that it was “time for celebrations and weddings and conventions and concerts and parades and proms” to take place “without limits on gathering sizes.” Senator Roger Marshall, who is a Republican from Kansas as well as a medical doctor, released an advertisement that encouraged viewers to get vaccinated for the simple reason that "we can throw away our masks, and live life as free as before.”
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