The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States on Monday said people who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus can meet each other indoors without masks. However, it said that those inoculated should still avoid non-essential travel and continue to wear face-coverings in public places.
The new set of guidelines also allows vaccinated people to meet without masks those who have not received the shot, but are from the same household. However, it will not be safe to do so if any one of the group has a higher risk of the infection due to reasons like old age or co-morbidities, the CDC said.
Moreover, those who have received the full dosage of shots and may have come in contact with someone bearing the infection, no longer need to stay away from others, unless they show any symptoms, according to the CDC guidelines.
The guidelines, however, still advised vaccinated people to avoid “medium or large-sized gatherings”, crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, while speaking to the media, said it was important to protect those who have not been vaccinated and remain vulnerable while some 60,000 new coronavirus cases occur every day in the US, reported Reuters.
“We remain in the midst of a serious pandemic, and still over 90% of our population is not fully vaccinated,” she said. “Therefore, everyone whether vaccinated or not, should continue to avoid medium- and large-sized gatherings as well as non-essential travel.”
US President Joe Biden has urged Americans to remain vigilant and continue to follow CDC guidelines to prevent another surge of cases, according to Reuters. On Monday, Biden also retweeted the CDC guidelines.
“The new recommendations are intended to nudge Americans onto a more cautious path with clear boundaries for safe behavior, while acknowledging that most of the country remains vulnerable and many scientific questions remain unanswered,” according to the New York Times.
“This is not turning a switch on and off,” Carlos del Rio, Vice President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, told the newspaper. “This is more like turning a faucet – you slowly start turning the faucet off.”
Meanwhile, about 3 crore people in the US, or 9.2% of its population, have been fully inoculated, Reuters reported, quoting CDC data. Nearly 18%, or 5.89 crore adults have received at least one dose.