Vaccinated People Can Gather Indoors Without Masks

March 8, 2021 – People fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely assemble unmasked and indoors with non-vulnerable people who have not yet been vaccinated, according to long-awaited guidelines released today by the CDC.

“Today’s action is an important first step. This is not our final destination, ”CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said at the White House briefing on Monday. “As more people are vaccinated, levels of COVID-19 infection decline in communities and our understanding of COVID immunity improves, we look forward to updating these recommendations to the public. . “

According to the new guidelines, people who are at least 2 weeks away from their last dose may:

  • Visit other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk of severe COVID-19 illness indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Avoid quarantine and testing after exposure to a person if they remain asymptomatic.

However, restrictions will remain until further data is collected. Those who are fully vaccinated should still:

  • Wear masks and keep a physical distance in public places and around people at high risk of serious illness.
  • Wear masks and physical distancing when visiting unvaccinated people from more than one household.
  • Avoid medium and large gatherings.
  • Avoid traveling.

People considered to be at high risk for serious disease include those with cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, Down syndrome, heart disease, heart failure, a weakened immune system, obesity, sickle cell anemia and type 2 diabetes. It also includes pregnant women and smokers.

“In public spaces, fully vaccinated people should continue to follow advice to protect themselves and others, including wearing a properly fitted mask, physical distancing (at least 6 feet), avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated areas, covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands often, and following applicable workplace or school guidelines, ”says the guide. “Fully vaccinated people should always watch for symptoms of COVID-19, especially after exposure to a person who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.”

Adhering to travel restrictions is still crucial, Walensky said, given the past pushes and variations that have arisen after periods of increased travel.

We would like to give vaccinated grandparents the opportunity to visit healthy and local children and grandchildren, ”said Walensky.

But, she said, “it is important to realize, as we work on this issue, that over 90% of the population is not yet vaccinated.”

At this time, there is not enough data on transmission rates from those who are vaccinated to the rest of the public. However, Fauci said in a briefing last month that the preliminary data “points in a very favorable direction.”

Studies from Spain and Israel published last month showed that the amount of viral load – or the amount of COVID-19 virus in a person’s body – is significantly lower if a person is infected after being vaccinated , compared to infected people. and did not have the vaccine. A lower viral load means a much lower chance of passing the virus on to someone else, Fauci said.

“The science of COVID-19 is complex,” Walensky said, “and our understanding continues to evolve.”

WebMD Health News

Sources

White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing, March 8, 2021

CDC.gov: “People with Certain Medical Conditions,” “CDC Releases First Set of Guidelines on How Fully Immunized People Can Travel Safely with Other People.”


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