Americans can finally ditch the mask, says CDC
In the biggest indication that the United States is fast returning to pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said fully vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks. Following the announcement on Thursday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris appeared before reporters at the Rose Garden of the White House without wearing masks.
A great milestone for the country: Biden
"The recommendation holds true for both indoors and outdoors," the CDC said. "I think it's a great milestone. A great day. It's been made possible by the extraordinary success we've had in vaccinating so many Americans so quickly," Biden said. Referring to the latest CDC guidelines, Biden said "fully vaccinated people are at very, very low risk of contracting COVID-19."
However, important to know all rules regarding vaccination
"Therefore, if you've been fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask," Biden said. "But if you've not been vaccinated, or if you've been getting a two-shot vaccine and you've only had your first shot but not your second, or you haven't waited the full two weeks after your second shot, you still need to wear a mask," the President said.
Cases down in 49 states; hospitalizations are at the lowest
He also said 250 million vaccine shots have been given in 114 days. "We are seeing the results. Cases are down in 49 of 50 states. New York Times has reported that hospitalizations are the lowest they've been since April of 2020, over a year ago, right after the start of the pandemic," the President said.
Nearly 60% adults have got at least one shot: Biden
"Deaths are down 80 percent and also at their lowest level since April of 2020," Biden said. However, he said that the virus is tragically raging in other countries. "In less than four months, we've gone from 5.5 percent to nearly 60 percent of the adults in America with at least one shot in their arm," he said.
Tests and self-quarantine not required for travel within US
In its latest guidelines, the CDC said fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. "Those traveling within the United States need not get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel," it said.
Vaccines effective at preventing severe illness, death caused by COVID-19
"The CDC said the vaccines are effective at preventing the deadly COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death caused by it. The vaccines reduce the risk of people spreading COVID-19," it further said.
Guidance applies to vaccines approved by FDA and WHO
The guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration - Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines. "It can also be applied to the COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO). This includes AstraZeneca/Oxford," the CDC said.