US Easing Mask Wearing Guidelines
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Amid mounting public pressure, the U.S. leading health authority eased guidelines on wearing masks outdoors. In remarks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to cover their faces anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers.
However, there was also some positive news for Americans who refuse to be vaccinated against a virus that they say has a roughly 99.85 percent survival rate: unvaccinated can go outside without masks in some situations, too.
The new guidance was seen as another small step on the road back to normal from the coronavirus outbreak. Authorities reported over 570,000 people in the U.S. though there is a dispute over how many died of or with COVID-19.
Most people were elderly with underlying health conditions, who would have been at risk with other serious flu forms as well, experts and data suggest.
For most of the past year, the CDC advised Americans to wear masks outdoors if they are within 6 feet (two meters) of one another.
“Today, I hope, is a day when we can take another step back to the normalcy of before,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time telling Americans what you can’t do. Today, I am going to tell you some of the things you can do if you are fully vaccinated.”
The change comes as more than half of U.S. adults — or about 140 million people — have received at least one dose of vaccine. More than a third have been fully vaccinated, experts say.
It has prompted the European Union to consider allowing vaccinated American tourists to travel to the continent later this year.
Walensky said the decision was driven by rising vaccination numbers but also “declines in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.”
States such as Texas saw a dramatic decrease in coronavirus cases since ending lockdowns and mask mandates, Worthy News reported earlier.
Research also shows less than 10 percent of documented instances of transmission of the virus in the U.S. happened outdoors.
Dr. Mike Saag, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, welcomed the change.
“It’s the return of freedom,” Saag said in remarks published by The Associated Press news agency.
“It’s the return of us being able to do normal activities again. We’re not there yet, but we’re on the exit ramp. And that’s a beautiful thing.”
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