The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention released new mask guidelines for fully vaccinated people.
“If you are fully vaccinated and want to attend a small outdoor gathering with people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated, or dine at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households, the science shows if you are vaccinated, you can do safely unmasked,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director, announced during a virtual White House briefing on Tuesday.
The agency recommends that fully vaccinated people wear a mask while attending crowded outdoor events.
“Generally, for vaccinated people, outdoor activities without a mask are safe. However, we continue to recommend masking in crowded outdoor settings and venues, such as packed stadiums and concerts where there is decreased ability to maintain physical distance and where many unvaccinated people may also be present,” Dr. Walensky said. “We will continue to recommend this until widespread vaccination is achieved.”
The CDC advises both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
On Tuesday afternoon at the White House, President Joe Biden urged Americans to get vaccinated.
“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. “So for those who haven’t gotten their vaccination yet, especially if you’re younger, or thinking you don’t need it, this is another great reason to go get vaccinated. Now.”
“We’re back to that place now as long as you get vaccinated. So go get the shot. It’s never been easier,” he said. “And once you’re fully vaccinated, you can go without a mask when you’re outside, and way from big crowds.”
The President said that the CDC’s guidelines made by experts at the CDC were based on science.
“The CDC is able to make this announcement because our scientists are convinced by the data that the odds of getting or giving the virus to others is very,very low if you’ve both been fully vaccinated and out in the open air,” the President said.
Dr. Walensky said that the CDC updated guidelines after seeing a rise in vaccinated people in the United States and a decline in COVID-19 cases.
“There’s increasing data that suggests that most of transmission is happening indoors rather than outdoors — less than 10% of documented transmission in many studies have occurred outdoors,” the CDC Director said.
“We also know that there’s an almost 20-fold increased risk of transmission in the indoor setting than in the outdoor setting. That, coupled with the fact that we now have 37% of people over that age of 18 fully vaccinated and the fact that our case rates are now starting to come down, motivated our change in guidance,” Dr. Walensky said. “As more people get vaccinated and as case rates continue to come down, we will come up with further updates.”