COVID-19: CDC Issues Brand-New Guidance On Mask-Wearing Indoors

Andrew Cummings
May 13, 2021

The new protocols call for masks to still be worn in crowded indoor settings including public transit, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.

In a sign of the Biden administration's embrace of the guidance, the White House emailed staffers Thursday telling them they no longer have to wear a mask on the complex's grounds if they are vaccinated, an official told CNN.

"If things get worse, there is always a chance we may need to make changes to these recommendations", Walensky said, "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 variant emerging".

"Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing", said CDC director Rochelle Walensky. It's based, she said, on real world data from people who've been vaccinated.

So far about 154 million Americans, more than 46 per cent of the population, have received at least one dose of a vaccine. In recent weeks, the rate of Americans getting vaccinated has slowed, but is expected to see a surge following the CDC's approval of the use of the vaccines in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15.

When asked if Thursday's decision was made to incentivize Americans to get vaccinated, Walensky said the agency was simply following the science. He added, "we're going to be moving on that in the next little bit". They hope it will encourage more people to get the jab.

As for unvaccinated people, Walensky said they remain at risk of falling ill with COVID-19 or spreading the virus to others. "If you are vaccinated, you don't have to wear a mask outside". Walensky encouraged people who have weak immune systems, such as from organ transplants or cancer treatment, to talk with their doctors before shedding their masks.

A person is considered fully vaccinated when two weeks following their last dose of a COVID-19 vaccine have elapsed.

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