President Joe Biden and federal health authorities announced Tuesday that vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks outdoors in most cases except major crowds. A move toward bringing "life in America closer to normal" by the Fourth of July, said the president.
No need for vaccinated Americans to wear masks outdoors
Biden spoke to reporters outside the White House on what he described as a "beautiful day" in Washington. "Beginning today, gathering group of friends, in a park, heading for a picnic, you should do so without a mask as long as you're vaccinated and outside."
Biden said that Americans had made "stunning strides" only two days before his 100th day in office, after U.S. COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have all decreased significantly since January. However, he cautioned that masks are still needed at outdoor concerts and sporting activities. And he urged American citizens who have not yet done so to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated, as per N.Y. Times.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released new guidelines stating that fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear masks while walking, biking, hiking, or riding outside, either alone or with family members, and in small outdoor gatherings. According to the CDC's updated recommendations, the possibility of the virus circulating out is so remote that even unvaccinated people who hike, walk, ride, or run alone or with a household member do not need to wear masks.
People who have not been vaccinated can attend small outdoor gatherings without wearing masks as long as friends and relatives surrounding them are completely vaccinated. Immunized people can remove their masks when they hold small meetings with people who have not received their vaccinations or dine at a restaurant outside with people from other households.
The CDC stopped short of advising even completely vaccinated citizens from removing their masks entirely in outdoor environments, citing the still-present danger of coronavirus transmission, unexplained vaccination levels among crowds, and still-high caseloads in certain parts of the country. However, with both the overall number of vaccines increasing and the daily number of cases decreasing, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, said she now feels more "hopeful."
The dean of Brown University's School of Public Health, Ashish Jha, said Tuesday that now that more Americans have been vaccinated, the CDC will certainly provide changes to public health recommendations more often, as per POLITICO.
Jha said, "Today, every adult in America who needs a vaccine can get one. I believe this changes the CDC's degrees of freedom because it recognizes that it cannot simply issue instructions without considering how they will be implemented. As a result, I appreciate the criticism - the CDC has been slow at times. I believe they are attempting to strike a balance between science communication and how it can influence policy."
Biden keeps his mask on despite CDC's new guidelines
President Joe Biden retained his face mask on Tuesday after the CDC announced that completely vaccinated Americans could now easily go outdoors without masks, claiming that he was doing so to prove a case. When he walked out onto the North Lawn of the White House to deliver remarks on the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden wore his face mask.
Against the bright, sunny day, he wore the dark mask with his trademark aviator sunglasses. He said he walked out of the White House wearing one so people could watch him remove it and not put it back on until he was back inside the building.
Before taking the oath of office on Inauguration Day in January, Biden was completely vaccinated against COVID-19. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the president would obey the new guidelines, but it would take some time for him to adjust to the new routine.
The president talked for a little more than five minutes on the pandemic, encouraging people to get vaccinated while the country's vaccination rate has begun to decline. He emphasized that getting vaccinated is a requirement to returning to normalcy, Daily Mail reported.