Finally, the day has arrived that so many people in America have been waiting for: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the long-awaited end of facemasks for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
In addition, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated individuals no longer have to undergo social distancing except in doctor’s offices, transportation facilities such as airports and train stations, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and nursing homes, just as a precaution.
This announcement signifies the greatest relaxation of health recommendations to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Draconian confinements, mandatory use of masks and social distancing were constant over the last year; critics of the health policies claim that the months-long restrictive measures were counterproductive because they severely damaged the economies and mental health of many people.
“We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, during a press briefing this Thursday afternoon, May 13.
The end of masks, an accomplishment for vaccines
CDC experts said they updated their recommendations on masks and social distancing based on scientific evidence that being fully vaccinated greatly reduces the risk of getting COVID-19 or infecting others. At the same time, if for some reason the virus is contracted while vaccinated, the risks of developing serious illness and dying are lower.
“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” Walensky said, “that time [the end of masks] has come for those who are fully vaccinated.”
The CDC’s announcement comes at a pivotal time when COVID-19 cases have been steadily declining as the vaccination process continues apace. Health experts have criticized the CDC for being overly cautious in announcing the easing of health restrictions, including the end of masks.
In fact, 4 days ago, Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the White House’s most highly regarded scientists to study the coronavirus and manage the pandemic, said he was evaluating the controversial decision to have people wear facemasks during certain seasonal periods to prevent the spread of respiratory-transmitted diseases.
Today, Fauci told CNN that, if you are fully vaccinated and outdoors, you can put “the mask aside.”
Right now, according to the CDC’s own data, more than 35% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and can peacefully enjoy the announcement of the end of facemasks. Also, more than 46% of the population has received at least one dose and is awaiting their second injection.