Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a face mask or stay six feet away from others in most settings, whether outdoors or indoors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated public health guidance released Thursday.
There are a handful of instances where people will still need to wear masks — in a health-care setting, at a business that requires them or on an airplane — even if they’ve had their final vaccine dose two or more weeks ago, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a press briefing.
The announcement from the CDC comes just ahead of the Memorial Day and Fourth of July parade season. President Joe Biden has said he hopes to see enough Americans vaccinated by Independence Day to safely hold outdoor gatherings.
Last week, Biden announced his administration’s latest goals in the fight against the coronavirus: getting 70% of U.S. adults to receive at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and having 160 million adults fully vaccinated by July 4.
As of Wednesday, more than 151 million Americans age 18 and older, or 58.7% of the U.S. adult population, have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, according to data compiled by the CDC. Roughly 116 million American adults, or 45.1% of the U.S. adult population, are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
To reach the president’s goal, the administration is working to make getting a Covid vaccine shot as simple and convenient as possible.
Biden is directing thousands of local pharmacies to provide walk-in vaccinations to people without appointments, a senior administration official told reporters last week. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will also support pop-up and mobile clinics, which are aimed at individuals who may otherwise have trouble reaching vaccination sites.
The new CDC guidance Thursday is likely to encourage more Americans, especially those still hesitant about getting the shots, to get vaccinated.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.