The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will no longer need to wear masks or physically distance in most circumstances.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky spoke with the media and confirmed the news, saying whether indoors or outdoors, the risk of transmitting Covid-19 to a fully vaccinated person is very low.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic,” she said. “This is based on the continuing downward trajectory of cases, the scientific data on the performance of our vaccines and our understanding of how the virus spreads.”
The new guidance does not apply to those traveling on planes, buses, or other public transport as well as hospitals, correctional facilities or homeless shelters. Masks should still be worn under federal, state, local laws especially in local small businesses if required.
President Joe Biden delivered remarks at the White House Rose Garden on Thursday as he and Vice President Kamala Harris did not wear masks or social distance as they both have been fully vaccinated.
“Today is a great day for America,” Biden said. “If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask.”
While celebrating the good news, the President also cautioned if you have only received one dose of the vaccine or are not fully vaccinated, you must still wear a mask until you are.
“Get vaccinated — or wear a mask until you do,” he said.
Both The CDC and the Biden administration have faced pressure to ease restrictions on those fully vaccinated people in order to encourage others to get the shot. As of this writing, U.S. virus cases are at their lowest rate since September and deaths are at their lowest point since last April.
As of now, the CDC guidance applies only to those who have been fully vaccinated. This week, children ages 12 and older began getting their doses of the vaccine and the guidelines could apply to them as well.