Excerpted from CNN Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Top federal health officials on Monday, March 8th told Americans who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 that they could once again gather in small groups at home without masks or social distancing.
The guidance, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, came almost a year to the day after the coronavirus first gripped the United States and Americans were told to avoid large groups to stop the spread of the deadly disease.
Still, the good news is heavily caveated. Travel, even for those who’ve been vaccinated, is advised against — though some prominent medical experts said the CDC is being overly cautious. And the threat of pernicious Covid-19 variants may be about to inflict another surge of death and sickness.
But the announcement of the guidelines on Monday was a striking moment after 12 months of pain and heartache, signaling the first step in a real — albeit restrained — return to normal life for the 30 million Americans already fully vaccinated.
The new CDC guidance says fully vaccinated people can:
- Visit other vaccinated people indoors without masks or physical distancing.
- Visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household without masks or physical distancing, if the unvaccinated people are at low risk for severe disease.
- Skip quarantine and testing if exposed to someone who has Covid-19 but are asymptomatic, but should monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
But people who are fully vaccinated still need to take precautions in many scenarios:
- Wear a mask and keep good physical distance around the unvaccinated who are at increased risk for severe Covid-19, or if the unvaccinated person has a household member who is at higher risk.
- Wear masks and physically distance when visiting unvaccinated people who are from multiple households.
- Keep physical distance in public.
- Avoid medium- and large-sized crowds.
- Avoid poorly ventilated public spaces.
- Wash hands frequently.
- Get tested for Covid-19 if you feel sick.
The airline industry is pushing back against the guidance that fully vaccinated people should avoid travel.
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