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WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday said people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can safely participate in indoor and outdoor activities without a mask — an announcement that comes just two weeks after the agency released more cautious guidance.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters that fully vaccinated people can participate in activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or social distancing. The change comes as the agency has come under fire for being overly cautious and underselling the benefits of vaccination.

When asked whether the science had changed in recent days or whether the messaging change was a response to criticism, Walensky said that cases have dropped by a third over the last two weeks, adolescents are now eligible for vaccines, and new studies have suggested that vaccines are highly effective against Covid-19 variants.

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“If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic,” the CDC website now states.

Masks will still be required during travel on buses and trains and in airports, Walensky said. She also said that health care facilities will follow their own infection control guidelines.

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President Biden on Thursday afternoon said that the White House isn’t focused on enforcing mask wearing among people who have not been vaccinated, and is instead asking those people to wear a mask for their own protection and the protection of others.

“It’s not an enforcement thing, we are not going to arrest people,” Biden said.

Federal health officials on April 27 told people — even those who are vaccinated — to continue wearing masks in indoor settings and in crowded areas even if outdoors, at events like sports games or concerts.

Public health experts have said the initial guidance on mask-wearing for vaccinated people, which was accompanied by a color-coded chart, was confusing. The CDC released a new chart on Thursday showing that fully vaccinated people can participate in all of the listed activities without wearing a mask.

  • You are being too kind and vague. Asking the public to following medical “science” has been tainted and diluted. Fear has ruled the day and people can’t see past political manipulation. I’ve spent 30 years working in oncology research (including close ties to NIH/CDC and had a personal interest in screening and prevention. Because of Biden admin and leftist rhetoric, cancer cases are soaring and the voice of the war on cancer has been nearly silenced. There are worse diseases to get than coronavirus. Please take this viral political football away from the White House. Valid healthcare outcome analysis depends on it.

  • The problem here is everything today is political and has zero logic with reference to science , only a fool would not understand that

  • Cleveland Clinic studied 27,000 people. 99.74% of people hospitalized for coronavirus were unvaccinated. What more evidence do vaccine hesitant Americans need?

    • 99.74% is a misleading and oversimplified number.

      Let me summarize the Cleveland study:

      The vast majority of hospitalizations occurred during the time when the vast majority of patients were unable to get vaccinated. Period.

      At a glance, it appears that the vaccines have been effective at preventing hospitalizations. If pressed, I would guess 90%+, but this is only a guess.

      Would love to see the data and run a more accurate analysis.

      Trying to find a copy of the study.

  • From Axios today….if this doesn’t convince Vaccine hesitant people to get with the program, they’re likely immune from evidence and nothing will get them to act rationally.

  • Fewer deaths, maybe fewer hospitalizations, but can a vaccinated or unvaccinated person without a mask carry or spread Coronavirus? That is the question.

  • This is a terrible article and a terribly misleading headline. Advancing along with the science is not backtracking. Backtracking would have been immediately saying “oops, nevermind.”

    I swear, people think CDC is too slow, but when they go faster it’s too fast.

    STAT should be ashamed. This just perpetuates people’s distrust of the public health system.

    • Anyone who says “the science” has never worked in a life sciences field

    • Shaming never works. Your response isn’t based in evidence of effective.

      There are sooo many things we can be picking on..

  • This is a terrible article and a misleading headline. Advancing along with the science is not backtracking. Backtracking would have been immediately saying “oops, nevermind.”

    STAT should be ashamed. This just perpetuates people’s distrust of the public health system.

    • “CDC doesn’t go fast enough with guidance!”

      ::CDC goes faster::

      “That’s too fast and therefore is dishonest!”

      Absolutely asinine.

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