The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is finally bringing us some good news, y’all. In a statement on their new mask guidelines, they announced that individuals who are fully vaccinated don’t need to mask up outside anymore — for the most part. Here’s everything you need to know.
According to the statement that was released today, the CDC no longer recommends outdoor masking for Americans who are fully vaxxed. To be clear, health officials are not saying that vaccinated people never need to mask, but did say it’s safe to take them off if you’re outside walking, running, hiking, or biking alone, with members of your household, or at small outdoor gatherings.
Why the caveats? Well, while the risk of outdoor infection is lower than indoors, it is still possible, infection rates are still high in some places and if you’re in a crowd you can’t know if other people are vaccinated, too. Basically, yes, you can take your mask off outside if you’re vaccinated, but you still need to be aware of risking the safety of others. Again, the risk of vaccinated people spreading COVID-19 is relatively low, but it is still possible.
Some experts think the stipulations the CDC is making are overkill. “I worry that this is not as helpful as it could be,” Linsey Marr, an aerosol scientist at Virginia Tech, told the Times. “I can’t remember this. I would have to carry around a cheat sheet with all these different stipulations.”
Marr added that she welcomes fewer restrictions outdoors, even if the CDC is being usually vague about what it recommends. “We know that transmission outdoors is much less likely to occur than indoors, because the virus cannot accumulate in the air outdoors,” said Marr.
Still, let’s not forget to celebrate this victory, no matter how small. After a year in lockdown, I for one, welcome the chance to rollerskate in maskless abandon with the surety that I am not hurting anyone.