Pressure builds for CDC to update indoor-mask requirements for vaccinated people - Yahoo! Voices
May 12, 2021 3 mins, 50 secs

All adult Americans who want to get a vaccine will have had the chance to do so in the next two months, the thinking goes, and they should then be able to make their own risk assessment based on the strong efficacy of the vaccines, which experts believe largely protects fully vaccinated Americans from getting severely ill with the virus and from transmitting it.

"What's happening in the past week or so is that we're seeing the effect of the vaccine winning this race against the variants, winning the race against the virus, and that's freeing us up -- and forcing us, rightly so -- to reevaluate our control strategies that are in place," said Joe Allen, a professor at the Harvard T.H.

The CDC has begun to loosen its recommendations for fully vaccinated people, defined as someone who has received the full regimen of the vaccine and waited two weeks for full immunity to kick in, but it hasn't gone so far as to say people can ditch their masks indoors if they're vaccinated.

And Biden said as much on Tuesday, telling governors that there could be guidance on indoor mask mandates "at some point soon.".

Beginning last month, the CDC released guidance that fully vaccinated people can gather in small groups without masks indoors and do the same with unvaccinated friends and family so long as they're low risk.

Then, two weeks ago, the CDC said that fully vaccinated Americans could safely ditch their masks in spacious outdoor settings.

The CDC has to consider every situation before it can issue guidance, she said.

We are responsible for putting out guidance for counties that have less than five cases per 100,000 and for counties that have greater than 100 cases per 100,000, as well as for counties that have less than 10% of people vaccinated and counties that have more than 50% of people vaccinated.

Our guidance has to be science-based for all of these situations," Walensky said.

MORE: The risks unvaccinated Americans are weighing.

At the same time, risks for fully vaccinated Americans are already very different.

Marr, who is fully vaccinated, said she'd now be comfortable indoor dining, going to a grocery store without a mask on, or attending an outdoor barbeque mask-less, with people who are both vaccinated and unvaccinated -- though she would follow the rules in her community.

William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said vaccinated people should feel confident indoors even in congregate settings, so long as they're not immunocompromised, and be comfortable ditching their masks around children.

Whereas unvaccinated people, they still need to be cautious for their own good, and for the good of others," he said.

MORE: CDC says fully vaccinated Americans can safely travel, but still recommends against nonessential trips.

It's difficult to enforce masks for unvaccinated people while no longer requiring them for fully vaccinated people, largely because it's awkward to single people out.

But, Shaffner said, an important part of ushering in the "new normal" is to "formally, in recommendations, permit the vaccinated people to behave much more as they did pre-COVID, because we have so much confidence in the vaccines.".

If we're going to get more people vaccinated, you have to reward them," Schaffner said.

"I'm worried that if we don't relax restrictions, then people say, 'What's the point of getting the vaccine?'" said Allen.

If we then don't pull back controls when it's time to pull back, we lose credibility," he said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday said that Homeland Security Adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese met with principal leaders of the interagency group tackling the Colonial Pipeline situation.

The Biden administration said during a Senate hearing Tuesday that the government has enough funding to buy booster shots if needed.

A car matching the description of one belonging to a Texas mother who went missing three weeks ago was found in a pond with a body inside, authorities said Tuesday.

Information gathered from the FBI led authorities to a retention pond in Pearland, southeast of Houston, where they searched the area and "found a location that was consistent with a vehicle striking the curb and entering a body of water at the end of the road," Houston Police Department Commander Kevin Deese said during a press briefing Tuesday evening.

Customs and Border Protection said in a press release

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