NEWS & ANALYSIS

CDC Releases New Mask Guidance


The CDC announced an update to mask guidance for Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

In a White House briefing Tuesday, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said science identifies “many situations” where vaccinated individuals don’t need to wear a mask, specifically outdoors. 

Walensky said those who are fully vaccinated – 14 days post-second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks past the Johnson & Johnson one-dose shot – can attend outdoor gatherings or dine with others without masks. 

She also noted that less than 10 percent of documented transmission happens outdoors, Fox News reports. 

While this is the case for many outdoor scenarios, wearing a mask in crowded areas is still recommended. 

Walensky called the new guidelines “a step back to the normalcy of before.” 

“Today is another day we can take a step back to the normalcy of before,” she said. “Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time telling Americans what they cannot do. Today, I’m going to tell you some of the things you can do if you are fully vaccinated.” 

President Biden reiterated the CDC in a speech Tuesday. 

“Starting today, if you are fully vaccinated and outdoors, not in a big group, you can go without a mask,” he said, noting that masks are still required in crowded spaces, such as concerts. 

“If you are vaccinated, you can do more things safely indoors and outdoors,” he continued. “For those who haven’t gotten it, this is another good reason to get vaccinated. It’s about saving your life [and the lives] of those around you; it’s about getting back to normal life.” 

Unlike with other vaccines throughout history, these CDC guidelines still do not provide the freedom of movement typically expected among vaccinated people. This calls into question either the efficacy of the vaccine, the motivations of CDC members, or both.