Great news, Americans who have taken the responsible step of getting vaccinated:
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance on Tuesday, updating its outdoor mask use policy for fully vaccinated Americans.
Simply put, you can now ditch the face covering any time you’re outside.
Almost any time, that is.
Said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a virtual White House briefing this afternoon:
"If you are fully vaccinated and want to attend a small outdoor gathering with people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated, or dine at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households, the science shows if you are vaccinated, you can do so safely unmasked."
It’s been accepted for awhile now, within the medical community, that COVID-19 is far harder to transmit in fresh air.
But this marks the first time this official organization has deemed it okay to remove one’s mask in the outdoors.
The federal health agency, however, did pass along some continued warnings.
Even if you’ve been vaccinated, you should avoid large indoor gatherings, for example.
The CDC did not define how many people would be in a large gathering.
However, the agency’s website describes "large gatherings" as bringing together "many people from multiple households in a private or public space."
“Today is another day we can take a step back to the normalcy of before,” Walensky emphasized on Tuesday, with the United States having administered over the coronavirus vaccines to about 95 million people in 2021.
For the fully vaccinated who do choose to attend a crowded outdoor event, such as a live performance, parade, or sporting event, wearing a mask is still recommended.
"Generally, for vaccinated people, outdoor activities without a mask are safe.
"However, we continue to recommend masking in crowded outdoor settings and venues, such as packed stadiums and concerts where there is decreased ability to maintain physical distance and where many unvaccinated people may also be present," Walensky said.
"We will continue to recommend this until widespread vaccination is achieved."
Twenty-six states have mask mandates that apply to both indoor and outdoor settings at the moment.
After studing this virus for awhile, Scientists now understand that it is an almost entirely an airborne disease — and that it thrives in unventilated spaces where maskless people congregate in close quarters.
The coronavirus “just cannot accumulate in the air outdoors,” Dr. Linsey Marr of Virginia Tech, one of the nation’s leading aerosol scientists, told NPR ahead of Tuesday’s announcement.
“It’s like putting a drop of dye into the ocean.”
To be clear, the CDC advises both vaccinated and unvaccinated people to still wear masks in indoor public spaces, such as a mall, movie theater or museum.
On Tuesday, Presidents Biden used the new mask guidance from the CDC as an opportunity to urge absolutely everyone to get vaccinated. ASAP.
"The bottom line is clear, if you’re vaccinated, you can do more things, more safely, both outdoors as well as indoors," he said during remarks at the White House.
"So for those who haven’t gotten their vaccination yet, especially if you’re younger, or thinking you don’t need it, this is another great reason to go get vaccinated. Now."
Concluded the Commander-in-Chief:
"We’re back to that place now as long as you get vaccinated. So go get the shot. It’s never been easier.
‘And once you’re fully vaccinated, you can go without a mask when you’re outside, and away from big crowds."