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Fully Vaccinated People In US Exempted From Wearing Mask Outdoors

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, said in an important announcement that fully vaccinated people in the United States no longer need to wear a mask if they are outdoors, and not in a big crowd.

Releasing the agency's updated recommendations and guiding principles on Tuesday, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky clarified which outdoor activities are safer or less safe, depending on whether a person is vaccinated.

"If you are fully vaccinated and want to attend a small outdoor gathering with people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated or dine at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households, the science shows, if you're vaccinated, you can do so safely unmasked."

However, CDC continues to recommend masking in crowded outdoor settings and venues, such as packed stadiums and concerts, where there is decreased ability to maintain physical distance and where many unvaccinated people may also be present. "We will continue to recommend this until widespread vaccination is achieved," Walensky told reporters.

"Although these vaccines are extremely effective, we know that the virus spreads very well indoors. Until more people are vaccinated and while we still have more than 50,000 cases a day, mask use indoors will provide extra protection," she added.

CDC has posted on its website examples of various outdoor activities that are safe to do without a mask for those who are fully vaccinated.

The CDC defines "fully vaccinated" as 14 days after taking second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or 14 days after taking single dose of a J&J vaccine.

Asked about the reason behind the guidance change at this moment, Walensky said, "There's increasing data that suggests that most of transmission is happening indoors rather than outdoors; less than 10 percent of documented transmission, in many studies, have occurred outdoors. We also know that there's almost a 20-fold increased risk of transmission in the indoor setting than the outdoor setting".

However, the CDC chief admitted the inability to distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated people in large public outdoor venues such as concerts and stadiums. "In those settings, when you have that density, we really do worry about protecting the unvaccinated people."

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