NEWS & ANALYSIS

CDC Releases New Guidelines for Vaccinated Americans: What Are They & What Do They Mean?


Perhaps the most burning question in all the world is when will masks ever come off? The answer, though, remains unclear after a full year of our pandemic-focused life. 

If you’ve been vaccinated, you’d think you’re in the clear to return to semi-normalcy, but according to new guidelines, that’s not quite the case.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines Monday designed to somewhat ease restrictions for fully vaccinated Americans. 

But, if you fall under this category, don’t throw your masks away just yet because you still have to wear them. 

The agency’s guidance says those who have received a full course of the COVID-19 vaccine may gather with other fully vaccinated people in small groups inside their homes without masks or physical distancing, USA Today reports. They may also visit with unvaccinated people from one other household who are at low risk for disease. 

Fully vaccinated people also don’t need to quarantine or take a COVID-19 test if they’ve been exposed. 

“You can visit your grandparents if you’ve been vaccinated and they have been, too” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said in a White House briefing Monday. “If grandparents have been vaccinated, they can visit their daughter and her family even if they have not been vaccinated, so long as the daughter and her family are not at risk for severe disease.” 

Vaccinated individuals, however, still have to cover their faces and social distance in public and avoid medium-to-large sized gatherings. 

If you are vaccinated and don’t have to quarantine after being exposed to the virus, that means you are unlikely to contract it again. So, why are you still required to wear masks in public? The logic is missing. 

Experts say the announcement may be an attempt by the CDC to clear up confusion created by some states rolling back coronavirus protocols. 

Five states – Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Montana and Iowa – have announced plans to do away with mask mandates, USA Today reports. Biden called it a result of “neanderthal thinking.” 

If it were up to Biden, it seems like masks would be part of our daily lives for the rest of time. 

The Biden administration said Tuesday there will be enough vaccines for every adult in the U.S. by May. 

Maybe then masks will slowly start to fade, but who knows.