Americans who have received all doses of the COVID vaccine are no longer required to wear masks and social distance, according to the new guidelines released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart.”US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
This applies to both outdoor and indoor spaces, as well as crowded places.
Athough apprehensions have been expressed regarding the implementation of this recommendation, to many Americans, it comes as as welcome news, reported the New York Times.
"We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy," IANS quoted Dr Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of CDC.
It is also hoped that this recommendation would act as an incentive to those resistant to getting vaccinated and boost the slowing vaccination drive in the US.
According to The New York Times, while 154.6 Million Americans have received the first dose, 119 Million have been fully vaccinated.
US President Joe Biden, on Thursday, backed the recommendation, calling it a 'milestone' in beating the COVID pandemic, and urged people to get vaccinated.
Exceptions to the Guideline
Some exceptions to this new guideline are that even fully vaccinated people will need to mask up when going to health care facilities like clinics, hospitals, or nursing homes.
“While we all share the desire to return to a mask-free normal, today’s CDC guidance is confusing and fails to consider how it will impact essential workers who face frequent exposure to individuals who are not vaccinated and refuse to wear masks,” The New York Times quoted Marc Perrone, the President of the United Food and Commercial Worker's Union.
The CDC also says that people will still have to follow federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations that might require them to mask up or social distance.
The Problem of Implementation
However, questions have been raised about how this new guideline will be carried out. How, for instance can one ensure that the unvaccinated people are masking?
It can also be difficult to discern who is vaccinated and who's not in a public setting.
There is also the question of, 'what of the kids?' who are yet to receive the vaccine.
Moreover, while the recommendation is welcomed by many, some states including New York and New Jersey are still on the fence about implementing it, stating that they would have to study the recommendation more carefully before deciding.
It must be noted that this recommendation is a national guideline restricted to the US, and not a general guideline.
Other countries, including India continue to advocate masking up along with other mandated covid appropriate behaviour even after one is vaccinated.
(Written with inputs from The New York Times and IANS.)
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