WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Fully-vaccinated Americans can now go outdoors without wearing a mask.
- Unvaccinated people may also go maskless outdoors in certain situations.
- Most health experts believe the guideline can encourage more people to get vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidelines on Tuesday to allow fully vaccinated Americans to go outside without wearing a mask, while unvaccinated people can also go maskless outdoors in certain situations.
The relaxed guidelines were made after about 140 million people in the US have received at least one dose of vaccine, and more than a third have received complete doses, according to reports from Yahoo News.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the decision was also driven by declines in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, and research revealing a low transmission rate of the virus outdoors.
Dr. Mike Saag, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said it’s a sign of things going back to normal.
Some experts said the relaxed guidance may motivate more people to get the vaccine, a sentiment echoed by President Joe Biden. “The bottom line is clear: If you’re vaccinated, you can do more things, more safely, both outdoors as well as indoors,” the president said.
The CDC says that everyone, whether fully vaccinated or not, can walk, bike, or run outdoors without a mask if they are alone or with members of their household. They can also go without masks when in small outdoor gatherings attended by fully vaccinated people.
But the CDS says that those who haven’t received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson formula, are still required to wear masks at small outdoor gatherings where there are other unvaccinated people, or when dining at outdoor restaurants with people from outside their households.
And everyone, even those who are fully vaccinated, should wear masks at crowded outdoor events, and in indoor public places, says the CDC.
52-year-old Tim Stephens, a software salesman in Birmingham, Alabama who suffered a bout of COVID-19 and has since gotten vaccinated, said the relaxed guidelines are a big help to everyone’s mental health.
Most people in Oxford, Nebraska, which has 800 residents, no longer wear masks. The school district now allows students to go to school without a mask. Superintendent Bryce Jorgensen said only 10 of the 370 students are wearing face coverings. However, Jorgensen said it’s not the same in other states.
Dr. Babak Javid, a physician-scientist at the University of California, agrees that there is low transmission risk in most outdoor scenarios. And while he thinks that wearing masks outdoors increases mask-wearing indoors, he said Americans are aware of the relative risks and can make sound decisions.
Mercedes Carnethon, a professor and vice-chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, also said that CDC’s relaxed guidelines are medically sensible and it will motivate more people to get vaccinated.
Source: Yahoo News