CDC guidelines says, that fully vaccinated people may go out in public without wearing their masks
By: Samantha Bravo
Since the start of the pandemic, we have been longing for the day that we would be able to go outside without having to worry about following safety guidelines to prevent us from being infected with the Coronavirus. Luckily, things are slowly, but surely starting to get back to normal.
On May 16, 2021, CDC Guidelines officially announced that the mask mandate has been lifted. From now on, masks and social distancing in public places are no longer necessary for those who are fully vaccinated.
However, masks and social distancing will still be required in places such as hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters whether you are fully vaccinated or not. Masks and social distancing will also be required in modes of public transportation such as planes, buses, and trains.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physically distancing.” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. “We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”
At a White House briefing last week, President Joe Biden stated that the number of COVID-19 cases have decreased by 45% and COVID-19 related deaths have decreased by more than 80%. This is because 60% of Americans over 16 have received at least one vaccine shot.
The Biden administration aims to have at least 70% of the US vaccinated by July 4, 2021. But while many of us are excited that the mask mandate has been lifted, this news has also sparked some major concerns.
“I think people are misinterpreting, thinking that this is a removal of a mask mandate for everyone,” Fauci said in an interview. “It’s not. People either read them quickly or listen and hear half of it.”
There are also concerns about working and going to school in-person.
As of now, it has not been specified whether the mask mandate will be lifted in elementary schools, middle schools, or high schools. CUNY colleges are now able to teach some of their classes in-person during the fall semester, but students are still required to get vaccinated, wear masks and social distance.
Employers can require workers to get vaccinated and show proof of inoculation. However, people are also concerned that employees who have not received the vaccine may have fake vaccination cards so that they could go to indoor places without their masks.
“It feels like a huge shift, and I’m not going to follow it,” said Dr. John Swartzberg, an infectious disease specialist and professor at University of California. “The most important point is that the CDC is putting responsibility back on individuals. Each individual should look at what the CDC is recommending and see if that fits for them.”
We should also remember that even just because we are fully vaccinated, it does not mean that we cannot catch COVID-19. There is also a chance that people who are fully vaccinated can spread COVID-19 to others even if they have not been infected.
The vaccine will only prevent us from getting severe symptoms and there is a chance where we can get a mild case of the virus. The combination of wearing our masks and socially distancing, will offer us the best possible protection.
“Our guidance is very clear,” said Walensky. “If you are vaccinated, you are protected and if you are unvaccinated, in the context of Memorial Day weekend, we are really encouraging you to adhere to our guidance for people who are unvaccinated, of course, to get vaccinated.”