Vaccinated Americans Can Socialize Without Masks, CDC Says
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidelines saying people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 could meet indoors without social distancing or masks.
While Monday’s public health guidelines carried no legal authority, it was the first major attempt by U.S. health officials to explain how life might start to return to normal.
Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director, said: “We believe these new recommendations are an important first step in our efforts to resume day-to-day activities in our community.
CDC guidelines previously did not distinguish between those who had been vaccinated and those who had not, recommending no socializing indoors, travel, and large gatherings for everyone. Monday’s announcement marks a departure from that position.
Depending on the guidelines, those who have been fully vaccinated may visit the homes of other fully vaccinated people or homes where no one is at high risk of contracting the disease.
“If the grandparents have been vaccinated, they can visit their daughter and her family, even if they have not been vaccinated – as long as the girl and her family are not at risk of serious illness,” Walensky said.
She added that it would no longer be recommended that vaccinated people be tested and quarantined after coming into contact with someone with the disease.
However, the organization continued to advise against non-essential travel or medium to large gatherings for anyone, whether or not they had been vaccinated.
Andy Slavitt, a senior White House coronavirus adviser, said: “We have started to describe what a world looks like where we go beyond Covid-19. . . I think it’s important to note that as more and more people get vaccinated, this list of activities will continue to grow.
The United States vaccinated a record 2.9 million people on Saturday, Slavitt said, bringing the total number of people fully vaccinated to more than 30 million people, or 9% of the population.
Some 60 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. While BioNTech / Pfizer or Moderna vaccines require two jabs, regulators have also recently authorized single dose inoculation of Johnson & Johnson.
According to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University, the number of cases and deaths continued to fall across the country, although Walensky warned there had been a “stabilization of the decline” in recent days.
Some public health officials have also been alarmed by the cancellation of restrictions in states like Texas and Mississippi, which recently ended mask warrants and lifted trade restrictions as cases declined.
Over the past seven days, there have been an average of just under 60,000 cases per day, according to the FT coronavirus tracker – close to the same level observed in October 2020.
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