US says fully vaccinated people can meet without masks indoors
People who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can meet without masks indoors in small groups with others who have been inoculated but should avoid non-essential travel and continue to wear face-coverings in public, the Biden administration said on Monday.
In a long-awaited update of its guidance for behaviours to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said fully vaccinated people could also meet in small groups with unvaccinated individuals deemed at low-risk for severe COVID-19 from one other household without masks.
The slight lifting of restrictions represented a still cautious approach to public health guidance despite the quickly growing number of vaccinated people. President Joe Biden has urged Americans to remain vigilant and continue to follow CDC guidelines to prevent another surge of cases.
The CDC said fully vaccinated people should continue to follow many precautions such as avoiding big in-person gatherings, wearing masks when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households or wearing masks when with people at risk for severe COVID-19.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters it was important to protect those who have not been vaccinated and remain vulnerable while some 60,000 new coronavirus cases occur every day.
“We remain in the midst of a serious pandemic, and still over 90 percent of our population is not fully vaccinated,” she said. “Therefore, everyone whether vaccinated or not, should continue to avoid medium- and large-sized gatherings as well as non-essential travel.”
More than 525,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States. Biden, who took office on Jan. 20, has encouraged Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days as president, a contrast from the approach by former President Donald Trump, who downplayed the pandemic and eschewed masks. Some states have begun to lift restrictions on a large scale.
Many Americans eager to get back to their pre-pandemic way of life see vaccinations as a way to do that. Businesses, particularly in the travel and hospitality industry, are hopeful that a growing number of vaccinated people will feel comfortable flying and dining out again…..read more