CDC Announces that Vaccinated Can Now Go Outside Maskless

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The CDC announced on Thursday, May 13 that there had been a change to COVID-19 mask guidelines.

By Yunoo Kim, Community & World News Editor

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Thursday, May 13 that they have changed their guidelines regarding Covid-19. After over a year since the use of masks was first recommended, individuals who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are free to go without them outside of their homes. Social distancing at any size gathering is also unrequired.

 

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing held on Thursday, May 13. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”

 

The decision was based on various studies regarding the effectiveness of vaccination, such as one that became the basis of a publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 6,700 healthcare workers in Israel were vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech, which was shown to be 97% effective at protecting individuals from symptomatic infection and 86% effective at protecting against asymptomatic infection. Furthermore, declining Covid-19 deaths and newly reported cases have shown the promising effect of vaccines.

 

“Today, Covid-19 deaths are at the lowest point since April 2020,” White House Covid-19 Adviser Andy Slavitt said on Thursday, May 13.

 

That being said, those who have not been fully vaccinated are still required to follow the original guidelines. The immunocompromised are also encouraged to consult their doctors before removing their masks outside, as there is still somewhat of a risk.

 

Some states, such as New Jersey, have maintained their mask mandate in spite of the new CDC guidelines. Primary concerns include the fact that most of the population has not been fully vaccinated, as well as it being difficult for state workers to tell if someone has been or not. That being said, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy expressed optimism about it being relaxed soon.

 

“I would guess in a matter of weeks we’ll get to the point where we can comfortably say, inside, no matter what, you’re OK,” Mr. Murphy said to NorthJersey on May 14.

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