In response to CDC pointers, vaccinated individuals should not have to put on masks exterior

Fully vaccinated Americans are not required to wear a mask outdoors, except in crowded environments, according to new guidelines released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During a briefing at the White House, public health officials said fully vaccinated individuals could expose themselves while walking, running, hiking or biking outdoors alone or with members of their household.

Vaccinated people are not required to wear a mask even in small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated family members and friends, or in gatherings with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

In addition, fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask in outdoor restaurants with friends from multiple households, the instructions say.

“Today is another day where we can take a step back to normal,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “When you are fully vaccinated things are much safer for you than those who are not fully vaccinated.”

The CDC also recommends that fully vaccinated individuals wear masks in indoor and outdoor public areas or in places where masks are required.

Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.

The CDC’s announcement represents a slight shift in public health messaging, from pandemic drilling restrictions to promoting vaccinations by providing tangible benefits to those who have received their shots.

“The bottom line is clear: when you are vaccinated, you can be safer both outside and inside,” President Joe Biden said in a later briefing on Tuesday at the White House. “For those who haven’t had their vaccination, especially if you are younger or think you don’t need it, this is another great reason to get vaccinated now.”

As of Tuesday, CDC data showed that nearly 30% of the US population had been fully vaccinated and more than 42% had received at least one dose.

The agency’s instructions beforehand said, “Masks may not be required when you are outside alone, away from others, or with people who live in your household,” but masks continued to be recommended in public settings and this was advised local outdoor mask orders should be followed.

Some states had already started relaxing the requirements for external masks. Kentucky residents are no longer required to wear masks at outdoor events with fewer than 1,000 people. Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker told reporters last week he plans to lift some restrictions in the state by the end of April.

Health experts have found throughout the pandemic that the risk of coronavirus transmission is much lower outdoors than indoors. Dr. White House chief medical officer Anthony Fauci told George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday that the risk for people who were vaccinated outdoors was “tiny”.

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A November report published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases found that indoor transmission was 18.7 times more likely than outdoors. Researchers who looked at five studies found that less than 10% of COVID-19 infections occurred outdoors.

“The virus spreads rapidly in the air due to wind currents, so the risk of inhaling aerosols of virus particles from people passing or running is quite small,” said Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

However, he said masks should still be worn at large outdoor gatherings where people are in close proximity for long periods of time, e.g. B. at sporting events, protests or rallies.

In the newly released masking guidelines, the CDC recommends that people continue to wear masks during crowded outdoor events such as live performances, parades, or sporting events. They also recommend wearing a mask in a barbershop or hair salon, uncrowded mall or museum, small indoor gathering with unvaccinated people, indoor cinema, and place of worship.

Contributor: Associated Press. Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.

U.S. TODAY health and patient safety coverage is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not provide any editorial contributions.

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