Finally, the time has come — if you’ve been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 the CDC announced today you don’t have to wear a mask, or even social distance yourself if you’re indoors, a heart-felt move toward more-fully opening society.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a briefing this afternoon: ‘“We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy … Based on the continuing downward trajectory of cases, the scientific data on the performance of our vaccines and our understanding of how the virus spreads, that moment has come for those who are fully vaccinated.”‘
After nearly a year-and-a-half of tense mask/social distancing bred with pandemic fright, the announcement came as welcome relief for those jabbed and ready:
This CDC graphic is unreal. pic.twitter.com/QWYdqWLMzL
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 13, 2021
Walensky did offer stipulations (CNN):
Calling it an “exciting and powerful moment,” Walensky said the science supports the updated CDC guidance that “anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities — large or small — without wearing a mask or physical distancing.”
She cited three studies — one from Israel and two from the United States — that show vaccines work.
There have been reports of “breakthrough” infections among vaccinated people in the United States — a small number among more than 117 million people in the United States who are now fully vaccinated.
Walensky noted that “the resulting infection is more likely to have a lower viral load, may be shorter in duration, and likely less risk of transmission to others.”
Walensky’s announcement has a few caveats.
She warned that people who are immune compromised should speak with their doctors before giving up their masks.
The requirement to wear masks during travel — on buses, trains, planes and public transportation — still stands, Walensky said.
Guidance for travel will be updated as science emerges.
She also said that “the past year has shown us that this virus can be unpredictable, so if things get worse, there is always a chance we may need to make a change to these recommendations.”
People who develop Covid-19 symptoms, even those who are vaccinated, should put their mask back on and get tested, Walensky said.
The science is clear, too, for unvaccinated people, Walensky said: “You remain at risk of mild or severe illness, of death, or spreading the disease to others. You should still mask and you should get vaccinated right away.”
But once someone is fully vaccinated — two weeks after the final dose — “you can shed your mask,” she said.
Although recommendations have changed, for me it will take some getting used to in not wearing a mask — I know Anthony Fauci said you don’t need a mask outdoors, I still feel the need to at least have one draped around my neck as a precaution,’ whatever that means. After the horror of COVID, going ‘normal’ might be based on small steps at first.
Fauci also emphasized to not be an idiot: ‘“We got to make that transition … If you are vaccinated and you are outside, put aside your mask, you don’t have to wear it … If you are going into a completely crowded situation where people are essentially falling all over each other, then you wear a mask.”‘
Joe Biden turned statesman-like with a touch of humility on the maskeless announcement. He appeared this afternoon without a mask, which should calm Republicans, who’d gone ape-shit about him still wearing one.
Today he was a nice, good guy about it and warned everyone to be/do the same (ABC News):
“I think it’s a great milestone, a great day,” Biden said during remarks after walking out into the White House Rose Garden not wearing a mask. “It’s been made possible by the extraordinary success we’ve had in vaccinating so many Americans so quickly.”
Biden spoke shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance saying fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear a mask indoors or outdoors.
“If you’re fully vaccinated and can take your mask off, you have earned the right to do something that Americans are known for all around the world: greeting others with a smile. With a smile. So, it is a good day for the country.”
He also asked Americans to be respectful of others if they see someone still wearing a mask because they want to feel more protected.
“You know, some may say, I just feel more comfortable continuing to wear a mask. They may feel that way. So if you’re someone with a mask, you see them, please treat them with kindness and respect. We’ve had too much conflict, too much bitterness, too much anger, too much politicization of this issue about wearing masks. Let’s put it to rest.”
Now will MAGA hatters still be ‘unfomfortable’ when seeing someone in a mask? Way-most-likely, they’re ‘uncomfortable’ about every f*cking thing!
So, take off your mask:
And give me a kiss…
(Illustration found here).