The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed guidelines on mask wearing and social distancing for people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 on Thursday. This is not even the case in most closed rooms.
"We've all waited a long time for the moment when we can return to normal," commented CDC CEO Rochelle Walensky.
The new guidelines still require masks to be worn in crowded confined spaces such as buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters. The CDC will no longer recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks outside even in crowds of people.
Walensky announced the new guidelines Thursday afternoon at a White House briefing. She explained that this is due to the millions of people who got vaccinated, and the CDC relies on the latest scientific research into the effectiveness of these vaccinations.
"If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things you stopped doing because of the pandemic," she noted.
The cupboard CDC, however, encouraged people with weakened immune systems, such as from organ transplants or cancer treatments, to talk to their doctors before throwing off their masks. It is not certain that vaccines can boost a weakened immune system to the same extent as it does for healthy people.
The AP points out that relaxing the guidelines could possibly lead to confusion as it will not be possible to distinguish fully vaccinated from those who did not receive the preparation.
The vaccination campaign in America is starting to bear fruit. Detections are the lowest since September, deaths - lowest since last April, and Covid testing positive - lowest since the start of the pandemic.
"So far, about 154 million Americans, or over 46 percent. of the population who have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and more than 117 million are fully vaccinated. The pace of new vaccinations has slowed down in recent weeks, but with the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 on Wednesday, the wave of doses is expected to increase in the coming days, AP reported.
From New York, Andrzej Dobrowolski (PAP)