CDC says vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear masks in many indoor spaces
In a move that’s come as a bit of a shock to many, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday stated that fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks indoors in a majority of spaces. Additionally, they eased up even more on masking guidance when outdoors, saying vaccinated people basically never have to wear a mask outdoors unless — as Dr. Anthony Fauci recently put it — “you were going into a completely crowded situation where people are essentially falling all over each other.”
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities — large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said (via The AP). “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”
Big news from the CDC: If you’re fully vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask – indoors or outdoors, in most settings.
We’ve gotten this far. Whether you choose to get vaccinated or wear a mask, please protect yourself until we get to the finish line. pic.twitter.com/XI4yPmhWaD
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 13, 2021
However, there are caveats. The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters. And the CDC cautions anyone with weakened immune systems to talk to their doctor before ditching the mask.
As of Wednesday, May 12, 2021 — the New York Times reports that only about a third of Americans are fully vaccinated and the new no-mask mandates is basically an attempt to convince people to get vaccinated.
However, this new mask mandate raises a lot of questions, namely: How do we know who is or isn’t vaccinated, and what’s stopping the unvaccinated from taking their mask off anyway? Will it really incentivize anti-vaxxers to get the jab?
There’s gonna be a lot of people walking around pretending to be vaccinated and spreading COVID now— JUSTIN FIELDS IS MY QB1 (@Colyn78186319) May 13, 2021
Not pleased at all—In a sharp turnabout from previous advice, CDC on Thursday said fully vaccinated may stop wearing masks or maintaining social distance in most indoor and outdoor settings, regardless of size, regardless of others.
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) May 13, 2021
People won't wear masks now after the CDC guidelines, which is fine, but are all those same folks vaccinated? I have an immuno-suppressed daughter who is 4 years old. You can imagine my concerns.
— Wajahat "Not Fasting" Ali (@WajahatAli) May 13, 2021
Additionally, states, local governments, and private businesses can still enforce mask mandates if they want and citizens will be bound by their local laws and regulations. However, this fracturing of guidelines can cause friction, as happened in certain Texas spots like Austin, where the state relaxed the mask mandate, but the county continued to enforce it. In a viral video taken at a Trader Joes in Texas, a man angrily refused to wear a mask citing the new state rules, clearly challenging the mask mandate set in place by the county and the store itself. I fear the new confusion will only cause more problems for grocery store and restaurant employees as they beg their customers to abide by their local or private business mask policies.
Though the good news is that the vaccines do work and vaccinated people can largely participate in pre-pandemic activities without worry. Or as Walensky put it, “we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”
Here are the reasons why the masks can come off now:
1. Vaccines are effective in the real world
2. Vaccines work against the variants
3. Vaccinated people are unlikely to spread COVID
— Ben Wakana (@benwakana46) May 13, 2021
“The science is clear: If you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic,” the C.D.C. said in a statement.
A few weeks ago, the CDC stated that vaccinated people could go outside without a mask as long as they weren’t around other people. This left a lot to be interpreted and on Thursday, Fauci says they’ve eased up on those restrictions as well, telling CBS This Morning (via CNN), that “If you are vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask outside. It would be a very unusual situation, if you were going into a completely crowded situation where people are essentially falling all over each other, then you wear a mask. But any other time, if you’re vaccinated and you’re outside, put aside your mask. You don’t have to wear it.”
Maybe this will all go well or maybe it’ll be a shit-show, either way — as with everything concerning the pandemic –we’ll see?