Biden touts new CDC mask guidance as 'a great day for America'

Daniel Fowler
May 13, 2021

The new guidance will still require masks in crowded indoor settings, such as buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but would ease up restrictions for offices and schools.

Dr Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, said data now showed the "real world effectiveness of the vaccines".

The CDC last updated its guidance for vaccinated people on April 27.

"Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask". "If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic".

Cruise passengers who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to take their masks off outdoors as long as they aren't in crowds, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

The announcement came amid mounting public pressure nationwide and in California, where almost 50% of the population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and coronavirus case rates have dropped dramatically.

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That danger stems from a variant's higher transmissibility, lethality and resistance to vaccines, or either of them. As of May 4, the CDC classified the strain and its several sublineages as a "variant of interest".

During a virtual meeting Tuesday on vaccinations with a bipartisan group of governors, President Joe Biden appeared to acknowledge that his administration had to do more to model the benefits of vaccination.

Spokeswoman Caitlin Shockey said the revision was made to "align with the CDC's current guidance for fully vaccinated people".

As for unvaccinated people, Walensky said they remain at risk of falling ill with COVID-19 or spreading the virus to others.

Dr Walensky said that immunocompromised people may want to consider continuing to wear a mask outdoors.

The CDC defines "fully vaccinated" as two weeks after receiving a second jab of a two-dose vaccine, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

"You should still mask and you should get vaccinated right away", Walensky advised those who haven't been vaccinated.

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