May 13, 2021 – People fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer required to wear masks or physical distancing, regardless of the location or size of the rally, the CDC said Thursday.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physically distancing themselves,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said at a news briefing Thursday. “We’ve all dreamed of that moment when we can regain some sense of normalcy.
“It’s an exciting and powerful time,” she said. “This could only have happened because of the work of so many people who ensured that we had timely delivery of three safe and effective vaccines.”
The CDC’s advice quickly took hold, even in the White House. President Joe Biden met with a group of Republican senators on Thursday to discuss an infrastructure plan, and all of them took off their masks as they gathered, according to the White House press pool.
Biden later spoke about the CDC’s new direction and what it means for the country.
“You did what I consider to be your patriotic duty,” Biden said, referring to the millions of Americans who have been vaccinated. “This is how we have come to this day.”
This is great news for those who have been vaccinated, Biden said.
“But if you haven’t been vaccinated… you still have to wear a mask,” he says. “We have made it this far. Please protect yourself until we reach the finish line. As great as this announcement is today, we don’t want to let go. “
“For now, after a year of hard work and sacrifice, the message is simple: get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do. It is ‘veiled or masked’. ”
Walensky said three large studies on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against the original virus and its variants have helped inform new directions. An Israeli study found the vaccine to be 97% effective against symptomatic infection.
Those with symptoms should always wear masks, she said, and those who are immunocompromised should see their doctor for further advice. The CDC still advises travelers to wear masks on planes, buses or trains. The guidelines still call for masks to be worn in certain indoor environments, including hospitals, homeless shelters and prisons.
Our sincere thanks to