Image

12:48 PM / Saturday October 23, 2021

27 Apr 2021

CDC says many Americans can now go outside without a mask

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
April 27, 2021 Category: Coronavirus Posted by:

The agency continues to recommend masks at indoor public places, such as hair salons, restaurants, shopping centers, museums and movie theaters.

By MIKE STOBBE

NEW YORK (AP) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased its guidelines Tuesday on the wearing of masks outdoors, saying fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to cover their faces anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers.

And those who are unvaccinated can go outside without masks in some cases, too.

The new guidance represents another carefully calibrated step on the road back to normal from the coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 570,000 people in U.S.

For most of the past year, the CDC had been advising Americans to wear masks outdoors if they are within 6 feet of each other.

Image

The change comes as more than half of U.S. adults have gotten at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, and more than a third have been fully vaccinated.

“It’s the return of freedom,” said Dr. Mike Saag, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who welcomed the change. “It’s the return of us being able to do normal activities again. We’re not there yet, but we’re on the exit ramp. And that’s a beautiful thing.”

More people need to be vaccinated, and concerns persist about variants and other possible shifts in the epidemic. But Saag said the new guidance is a sensible reward following the development and distribution of effective vaccines and about 140 million Americans stepping forward to get their shots.

The CDC, which has been cautious in its guidance during the crisis, essentially endorsed what many Americans have already been doing over the past several weeks.

The CDC says that fully vaccinated or not, people do not have to wear masks outdoors when they walk, bike or run alone or with members of their household. They can also go maskless in small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated people.

But from there, the CDC has differing guidance for people who are fully vaccinated and those who are not.

Unvaccinated people — defined by the CDC as those who have yet to receive both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson formula — should wear masks at outdoor gatherings that include other unvaccinated people. They also should keep using masks at outdoor restaurants.

Fully vaccinated people do not need to cover up in those situations, the CDC says.

However, everyone should keep wearing masks at crowded outdoor events such as concerts or sporting events, the CDC says.

And the agency continues to recommend masks at indoor public places, such as hair salons, restaurants, shopping centers, museums and movie theaters.

Dr. Babak Javid, a physician-scientist at the University of California, San Francisco, said the new CDC guidance is sensible.

“In the vast majority of outdoor scenarios, transmission risk is low,” Javid said.

Javid has favored outdoor mask-wearing requirements because he believes they increase indoor mask-wearing, but he said Americans can understand the relative risks and make good decisions.

“The key thing is to make sure people wear masks indoors” while in public spaces, he said.

He added: “I’m looking forward to mask-free existence.”

“The timing is right because we now have a fair amount of data about the scenarios where transmission occurs,” said Mercedes Carnethon, a professor and vice chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

What’s more, she said, “the additional freedoms may serve as a motivator” for people to get vaccinated.

___

AP medical writer Carla K. Johnson in Washington state contributed to this report.

___

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Politics

Senate GOP again blocks Democrats’ election bill

October 21, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks to the media...

Sports

76ers boot Simmons from practice, suspend him for 1 game

October 21, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO:  Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons takes part in a practice at the...

Health

CDC’s new education campaigns address increasing drug overdose deaths

October 21, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT Drug overdoses have claimed nearly 900,000 lives over the past 20 years...

Go With The-Flo

Rev. Al Sharpton is calling for a street in New York named after Robert E. Lee to be renamed in honor Colin Powell

October 21, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO:  Rev. Al Sharpton By Flo Anthony After waving to a crowd...

Travel

Ready for adventure? Consider exploring this network of spectacular drives

October 21, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT There’s nothing quite like packing up your car and heading out onto...

Color Of Money

Five tips to make holiday shopping easier this year

October 21, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT The holidays are right around the corner, which means it’s time to...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff