CDC issues new outdoor mask guidance for fully vaccinated people

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday...

Posted: Apr 27, 2021 3:49 PM
Updated: Apr 28, 2021 9:11 AM

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday issued new guidance on outdoor mask use for fully vaccinated Americans.

Fully vaccinated people can now unmask at small outdoor gatherings, or when dining outside with friends from multiple households. The CDC is telling unvaccinated people that they still need to wear a mask at such gatherings.

'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 so safely unmasked,' CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a virtual White House briefing on Tuesday.

But life will not return completely to normal for fully vaccinated people.

The federal health agency says even if you've been vaccinated, you should avoid large indoor gatherings. The CDC did not define how many people would be in a large gathering, but the agency's website describes 'large gatherings' as bringing together 'many people from multiple households in a private or public space.'

For the fully vaccinated who do choose to attend a crowded outdoor event, such as a live performance, parade, or sporting event, wearing a mask is recommended.

'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,' Walensky said. 'We will continue to recommend this until widespread vaccination is achieved.'

The CDC advises both vaccinated and unvaccinated people to still wear masks in indoor public spaces, such as a mall, movie theater or museum.

People are considered fully vaccinated by the CDC two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

President Biden used the new mask guidance from the CDC as an opportunity to urge all 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,' Biden said during remarks at the White House on Tuesday afternoon. '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 away from big crowds.'

Changes motivated by science

Walensky said on Tuesday that the CDC was motivated to update its guidance for fully vaccinated people after seeing a rise in the number of vaccinated people in the United States and a fall in the rates of 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,' Walensky 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 the age of 18 fully vaccinated and the fact that our case rates are now starting to come down, motivated our change in guidance,' Walensky said. 'As more people get vaccinated and as case rates continue to come down, we will come up with further updates.'

President Biden on Tuesday noted that the decision was made by experts of the CDC, based on science, not politics.

'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,' he said.

New CDC guidance conflicts with some state mask mandates

For some states that require outdoor mask-wearing for all, the new guidance from the CDC could pose a challenge.

'Should states that have outdoor mask requirements change those to reflect this new guidance? Is that your advice for those states and those governors?' CNN's Kaitlan Collins asked during the White House virtual briefing.

'What we're saying is, states that have mask requirements outdoors, if people are vaccinated, we no longer feel that the vaccinated people require masks outdoors -- so, to the extent that those are consistent,' Walensky said.

Walensky added that masks are still recommended for fully vaccinated people attending large outdoor public events, such as concerts or stadiums.

'A lot of that is the inability to distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated,' Walensky said. 'And to say that in those settings, when you have those at that density, we really do worry about protecting the unvaccinated people.'

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319381

Reported Deaths: 7354
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22264265
Hinds20634421
Harrison18381316
Rankin13862282
Jackson13677248
Madison10234224
Lee10050176
Jones8458167
Forrest7821153
Lauderdale7257242
Lowndes6498149
Lamar633688
Lafayette6298120
Washington5418136
Bolivar4835133
Panola4663110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4597146
Marshall4572105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc424973
Monroe4155135
Union415576
Neshoba4059179
Lincoln4007111
Hancock386087
Leflore3515125
Tate342386
Sunflower339391
Pike3366110
Alcorn324172
Scott319374
Yazoo314171
Itawamba305077
Adams304885
Copiah299766
Coahoma298383
Simpson298189
Tippah291568
Prentiss283561
Leake271774
Marion271280
Covington267083
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George251951
Newton248563
Tishomingo231267
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210459
Holmes190374
Clay187554
Stone187433
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174032
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135247
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee127934
Perry126638
Amite126142
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Tunica108027
Jefferson Davis107833
Claiborne103030
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96628
Franklin85023
Quitman81816
Choctaw79018
Wilkinson69332
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 547873

Reported Deaths: 11274
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809141565
Mobile41984826
Madison35629523
Tuscaloosa26147458
Shelby25580254
Montgomery25075611
Baldwin21805313
Lee16248175
Calhoun14710325
Morgan14618285
Etowah14160362
Marshall12446230
Houston10757288
Elmore10292212
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10155250
Cullman9928200
Lauderdale9591248
DeKalb8963189
Talladega8455184
Walker7330280
Autauga7229113
Blount6937139
Jackson6905113
Colbert6406139
Coffee5622126
Dale4929114
Russell454541
Chilton4470116
Franklin430783
Covington4267122
Tallapoosa4127154
Escambia401180
Chambers3723123
Dallas3606156
Clarke352861
Marion3237106
Pike313978
Lawrence3124100
Winston283272
Bibb267664
Geneva257081
Marengo250665
Pickens236662
Barbour234559
Hale226678
Butler223771
Fayette217762
Henry193743
Cherokee187245
Randolph186944
Monroe179141
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155157
Cleburne153144
Lamar146237
Lowndes142053
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113230
Coosa111429
Perry108726
Sumter105732
Greene93434
Choctaw61725
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