President Joe Biden took his biggest step towards declaring the victory over the coronavirus pandemic. The public health officials announced that fully vaccinated Americans can ditch their masks in most of the settings including indoors and large groups.
“Today is a great day for America in our long battle with coronavirus,” Biden said in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday, calling the US vaccination program an “historical logistical achievement.”
The announcement was made on Thursday and the guidance came as a turning point in the fight against the coronavirus disease. The US caseload has fallen and the vaccinations has been done at a speedy pace.
The step has come up as a signal that the board can return to their normal life and also a bet that any surge in the spread from relaxed guidelines won’t be enough to reverse progress in vaccinations and the administered also used it as a further incentive for vaccination.
“The rule is very simple: Get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do,” Biden said. The change in guidance while citing growing evidence that vaccines are effective against and outside of clinical trials and fully vaccinated people are at low risk to spread the virus to someone else, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor or outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”
The CDC guidance spelled out ample exceptions, however, that signal the era of masks isn’t over yet. The agency still recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks on “all planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation,” as well as in health care settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and where required by state and local governments, or businesses.
The announcement was first reported by the Associated Press, that said masks are still recommended for the people who are partially vaccinated and those who have not yet waited for weeks from their final does or who haven’t gotten a vaccine which included children.
According to CDC’s guidelines suggested behavior but they don’t have the force of law. The ground level decisions say on when and where masks must ne worn will now rest with states, local governments and businesses which will have to decide whether to maintain or relax their masking mandates, and what mix of carrots and sticks they will use to compel compliance.
‘Free At Last’
Yet even with the exceptions, the announcement represents a watershed moment. Only six weeks ago, Walensky had warned of “impending doom” as cases, hospitalizations and deaths rose. Thursday’s guidance was met in Washington with sighs of relief, as lawmakers in Congress and staff at the White House almost immediately dropped their masks. “Free at last,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
The most recent CDC guidance represents a major shift for the typically cautious agency, including from its own recommendations just weeks earlier. In late April, federal health officials said fully vaccinated Americans could drop their masks when exercising, dining and socializing outdoors in small groups, as well as when gathering indoors with other fully vaccinated people.Some question whether the guidance is premature, as only 35% of the US population is fully vaccinated, and an entire population group — children under age 12 — doesn’t yet qualify for a shot.