President Biden is expected to announce new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advice on masking tomorrow, and it could say that fully-vaccinated people can stop covering their faces outside, sources told CNN.
New guidance is expected as the share of Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 approaches 30 percent, and warmer begins to spread across the nation.
The CDC has been cautiously expanding its list of activities that it says are low-risk for fully inoculated people, which now includes domestic travel. But the agency’s guidance has been paradoxical – it still advises against travel, despite the low risk.
And even as evidence that coronavirus rarely spreads outside without close contact, the agency has maintained its guidance about public mask-wearing amid growing impatience and pandemic fatigue.
But that could finally be about to change, ‘multiple’ people told CNN.
President Biden is expected to announce new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advice on masking tomorrow,
Nearly 30% of Americans are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the U.S. is giving about 3 million shots a day
President Biden, like his predecessor, former President Trump, declined to issue a federal mask mandate.
Public health advisers, including Dr Anthony Fauci, even warned that doing so might also have the opposite of the desired effect, stoking resistance to face coverings.
But most states and territories issued their own mask orders, which numerous studies linked to subsequent decreases in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
After Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued a mask mandate on July 3 amid massive Covid surges in the South, the upward trend in cases in her state flattened.
A CDC study of the state found that new Covid cases per capita fell by six percent in counties that adopted the mandate in subsequent weeks, while those that opted out saw new infections per capita double.
But the U.S. is entering a new phase of the pandemic.
Just shy of 29 percent of Americans are now fully vaccinated against coronavirus, and more than 42 percent have had at least one dose.
Among adults 18 or older, rates are even higher, with 36.5 percent fully vaccinated and 53.6 percent having had at least a first dose, according to CDC data.
Clinical trials for the three vaccines authorized in the U.S. – made by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – did not measure whether vaccinated people could still spread the virus, only whether they were protected against getting sick from it.
So public health officials continued to encourage fully vaccinated people to continue to wear masks.
Now, real world data increasingly suggests that fully vaccinated people are unlikely to spread the virus, and are likely protected from catching it as well as from becoming ill.
The federal government soon will update its guidance on mask-wearing in public, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci (seen above during an appearance on ABC This Week on Sunday), who said it was ‘common sense’ to do so as critics have accused him of flip-flopping on the issue of face coverings
Most U.S. states now have mandates in place requiring everyone to wear masks outdoors – but updated CDC guidance could soon change that
Data has also piled up to show that outdoor spread of coronavirus is rare, while indoors, without good ventilation, the risk remains high, whether you are six or 60 feet apart from other people, a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology study claimed.
Coronavirus is nearly 19 more likely to spread indoors compared to outside, and fewer than 10 percent of Covid infections had been contracted indoors as of a November Journal of Infectious Diseases study.
Even Dr Fauci admitted the low risk for outdoor transmission.
‘‘I mean, if you are a vaccinated person, wearing a mask outdoors, I mean, obviously, the risk is minuscule,’ Dr Fauci said during a Sunday ABC interview.
‘Obviously the risk is really very low, particularly if you’re vaccinated’ and participating in outdoor activities.
‘The more we take a look at the data as it accumulates, we see [the vaccine] is even more effective than what the initial numbers of the clinical trial.’
He added that he anticipated updated, ‘common sense’ guidance from the CDC soon.