After over one year of the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors.
The announcement comes against the backdrop of total U.S. coronavirus deaths of 584,487 and 32.9 million cases.
Over the last week, the U.S. is said to be averaging 2.1 million vaccinations per day, a declining number over the past month.
The Washington Post has also reported that the U.S. is averaging 37,000 new infections per day, nearly half of the daily case totals that were being reported a month ago.
In making the announcement on Thursday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said it was an exciting and powerful moment.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing. If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment, where we can all get back to some sense of normalcy,” she declared.
Walensky said the CDC is following science, and that has led to a change in three areas.
“One is the effectiveness of the vaccines in general and in a real-world population. One is the effectiveness against variants, which was just published last week, and then the effectiveness in preventing transmissibility.”
Dr. Walensky warned that immune-compromised people should speak with their doctors before giving up their masks.
She added that if COVID-19 conditions worsen in the U.S., the new mask guidance could be rolled back.
“This past year has shown us that this virus can be unpredictable, so if things get worse, there is always a chance we may need to make a change to these recommendations. But we know that the more people are vaccinated, the less cases we will have and the less chance of a new spike or additional variants emerging.”
“If you develop symptoms, you should put your mask back on and get tested right away,” Dr. Walensky urged.
Bloomberg News’s vaccination tracker has reported that 46.6 percent of the U.S. population has received one dose of the vaccine, and 35.8 percent are fully inoculated.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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