US health officials said today that Americans who have been vaccinated against the Coronavirus do not need to wear masks outdoors, except when they are part of a crowd.
“If you are fully vaccinated and want to participate in a small meeting with vaccinated and unvaccinated people, the scientific data shows that you can do it safely, without a mask,” said Rochelle Wallinski, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ), The principal federal public health agency.
The new guideline represents another carefully calibrated step on the way back to normal since the Covid-19 pandemic has killed an additional 570,000 people in the United States.
“On the other hand, we continue to recommend the use of the mask during activities and in crowded places, such as crowded stadiums or concerts,” the official added during a press conference.
The shift comes at a time when more than half of American adults have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and more than a third of them have been fully immunized.
“It’s a return to freedom,” said Mike Sage, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, who welcomed the move.
“It’s a return to being able to do normal activities again. We haven’t gotten there yet, but we’re on the exit ramp and that’s a nice thing,” he noted.
More people need to be vaccinated and concerns persist about other potential variants and changes in the epidemic.
However, Sage said the new directive is a reasonable reward after developing and distributing effective vaccines and the voluntary participation of 140 million Americans to be vaccinated.
The CDC, which has been cautious in its guidance during the health crisis, has mainly backed what many Americans have already done in recent weeks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whether or not they are fully vaccinated, people do not need to wear masks outdoors when walking, cycling or running alone or with family members.
Additionally, they can also go maskless to attend small meetings outside with people who have been fully vaccinated.
From there, the CDC has different guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated and those who have not been vaccinated.
Unvaccinated people – defined by the CDC as those who have not yet received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Moderna, or the unique Johnson & Johnson formula – should wear masks at outdoor meetings that include other unvaccinated people as well as in restaurants in the fresh air
According to that agency, fully vaccinated people do not need to hide their faces in these situations.
However, everyone should continue to wear masks at busy outdoor events, such as sporting events or concerts.
The agency continues to recommend masks in enclosed public places, such as hairdressers, restaurants, malls, museums and cinemas.
Babak Javid, a medical scientist at the University of California, San Francisco, said the new guidelines are reasonable.
“In the vast majority of external scenarios, the risk of transmission is low,” Javid said.