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CDC Does Away With Mask Mandates for Fully Vaccinated, California Likely to Follow

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      “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor or outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” CDC chief Rochelle Walensky said at a White House news briefing today. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”
      The CDC still recommends that vaccinated people wear masks on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation as well as health-care facilities, prisons and homeless shelters, as well as places where state and local governments or businesses require masks.
      It is a major shift in federal guidelines and California is likely to follow. In a recent TV interview Governor Gavin Newsom hinted that the state may replace its mask decree with recommendations around June 15 when the state is officially reopened for business.
      The news hinged on a response Newsom made to a direct question about the need for masks after June 15.
      “Only in those massively large settings, where people — from around the world, not just around the country — are convening, and where people are mixing in real dense spaces,” Newsom said.
      “Otherwise, we’ll make guidance, recommendations, but no mandates and no restrictions.”
      Hours later, however, he said this: “I want to clarify in that context that we will be updating our mask guidelines [for] outdoor masking if we reach that threshold where we hope to be, where we’ll be eliminating those mandates … they’ll be guidelines or recommendations, but for indoor activities, we’ll still have likely some mask guidelines, mandates. But we hope, sooner than later, those will be lifted as well.”
      The CDC had been under pressure to relax mask mandates given growing consensus among public health experts that the U.S. could soon safely end mask mandates. Dr. Anthony Fauci publicly said that he thought it may be time to start relaxing indoor mask requirements.
      Walensky cautioned that if COVID-19 numbers begin to rise again, the new mask guidance could be rolled back, adding: “The science is also very clear about unvaccinated people. You remain at risk of mild or severe illness, of death, or spreading the disease to others. You should still mask, and you should get vaccinated right away’.

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