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Outdoor Masks Off: Updated CDC Mask Guidelines Look Promising

Girl on a jog without a mask.
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Key Takeaways

  • Fully vaccinated Americans can now go without masks when walking, jogging, or biking outdoors or when dining with small groups at outdoor restaurants
  • Unvaccinated individuals may go without masks when walking, jogging, or biking outdoors with household members.
  • Despite the loosening of mask guidelines, health officials urged everyone -- vaccinated or not -- to wear masks when attending crowded sporting events, live concerts, and parades.

HealthDay News–New CDC mask guidelines say fully vaccinated Americans can now go without masks when walking, jogging, or biking outdoors or when dining with small groups at outdoor restaurants.

Even unvaccinated individuals may go without masks when walking, jogging, or biking outdoors with household members, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added in its latest guidance. Despite the loosening of mask guidelines, health officials urged everyone — vaccinated or not — to wear masks when attending crowded sporting events, live concerts, and parades.

The new guidance aims to help the fully vaccinated return to daily routines while encouraging others to get their shots as soon as they can. A growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infections or transmit COVID-19 to others. Officials do not yet know how long that protection lasts and exactly how much the vaccines protect against emerging virus variants.

Still, “taking steps toward relaxing certain measures for vaccinated people may help improve coronavirus vaccine acceptance and uptake,” the guidance stated. “Therefore, there are several activities that fully vaccinated people can resume now, at low risk to themselves, while being mindful of the potential risk of transmitting the disease to others.”

The guidance also states that people taking immunosuppressive medications should discuss the need for personal protective measures with their health care providers even if they are fully vaccinated.

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