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Just in: The CDC has lifted some of its mask guidelines for people who got the COVID vaccine. See what activities you can do maskless after getting the COVID shot.

Did the CDC just change its mask guidelines for vaccinated people?

According to the Associated Press, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their mask guidelines today, April 27th, 2021. The stated purpose of the CDC guidelines is to help inform Americans how they can best stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic. For over a year the CDC have been offering regular guidance on how, where, and when to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

As more & more people are being vaccinated across the country, Americans can expect the CDC to steadily roll back their guidelines in an effort to return us to some sense of normalcy. The rollbacks will come slowly. At this point, the coronavirus has killed over 500,000 people in the United States. The CDC doesn’t want to make any moves that could cause another spike in outbreaks. 

 

Why now?

According to the Associated Press, the new guidelines come in response to the rising number of vaccinations and the falling number of infections throughout the country. Currently, more than half of all Americans have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and more than a third of Americans have been fully vaccinated. 

Beyond simply being a return to normalcy, many have stated they hope the steady rollbacks will serve as motivators for more people to get the vaccine. According to President Joe Biden: “The bottom line is clear: If you’re vaccinated, you can do more things, more safely, both indoors and outdoors.”

Motivating people to get the vaccine is more important than ever. A return to normalcy requires that a vast majority of American citizens are vaccinated. Large swaths of the population, unfortunately, still refuse to get the vaccine or have stated they believe the coronavirus is nothing more than a hoax. Experts stated they hope the relaxed guidelines will convince American outliers the CDC isn’t trying to control their lives. 

What’s changed?

The new guidelines state that all people, regardless of vaccination status, should feel comfortable being unmasked outdoors while alone or with members of their own household. Masks are also not necessary for small outdoor gatherings primarily consisting of vaccinated individuals.

Those who remain unvaccinated, including those who have only received their first dose of the vaccine, should continue to wear masks, even outdoors, whenever they are around other unvaccinated people. Even though experts agree that the risk of transmission outdoors is low, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

When it comes to large outdoors gatherings like concerts, or any indoor settings, the CDC guidelines recommend that everyone continue to wear their masks. These guidelines apply equally to adults & children. While young people have lower rates of contracting the disease, they are just as likely to spread it to others. 

Is there much of a difference? 

The new guidelines aren’t dramatically different than the ones that existed yesterday, or any of the sets of guidelines that have come from the CDC since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Still, they can be taken as an encouraging sign for everyone who is longing for a return to normalcy.

The CDC stated they keep their data on the pandemic as current as possible, issuing updates to their guidelines when a significant change in the data convinces them an update is safe. There is still a long way to go before life can go back to its pre-pandemic rhythm, but this update from the CDC could prove we’re getting closer to that goal. 

CDC Directory Dr. Rochelle Walensky summed it up best when she made her statement regarding the new guidelines: “Today, I hope, is a day when we can take another step back to the normalcy of before.”

The light at the end of the tunnel is finally visible, and by sticking close to the CDC’s recommendations, we can all contribute to a speedier return to everyday life.

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