New CDC guidance for vaccinated people brings confusion along with relief

WASHINGTON — Thursday’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus do not have to wear face masks in most indoor or outdoor situations was a landmark moment in the fight against COVID-19. But widespread relief was accompanied by confusion about what the new guidance will mean when applied to the real world.

“These are just recommendations,” explained Yahoo News medical contributor Dr. Kavita Patel, who worked on health care policy in the Obama administration. “So this is considered something that local and state and regional public health officials are going to have to issue before you can do anything. So look out for that guidance.”

Many states and localities, in particular those controlled by Democrats, still have mask mandates in place. Those will likely be revised in the coming days and weeks to reflect the new CDC advice, which is predicated on studies showing that vaccines are extremely effective in preventing serious and critical illness. Vaccinated people also do not spread the coronavirus to others.

“Bottom line,” Patel explained, “if you’re fully vaccinated, you can engage in pretty much everything you used to do before the pandemic, without a mask on.”

While nearly 120 million Americans have been vaccinated, millions more need to be inoculated before society can fully return to normal. “I can’t think of a better motivation or incentive to get vaccinated,” Patel said. Indeed, for many people, the prospect of unmasking once and for all could suffice. If it doesn't, there is always beer.


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