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“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidance for vaccinated people, giving the green light to resume some pre-pandemic activities and relax precautions that have been in place.
Specifically, the new guidance says, people who are fully vaccinated can visit indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks or social distancing. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have gotten the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines (or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine).
Vaccinated people can also visit, unmasked, with people from another household who are not yet vaccinated, as long as those people are at low risk of serious illness from the virus. However, the agency said, vaccinated people should continue to wear masks when they’re in public, avoid crowds and take other precautions when gathering with unvaccinated people who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
The new guidance also allows fully vaccinated individuals to forgo testing and quarantining following a known COVID-19 exposure, as long as they are not experiencing symptoms…
The CDC is not updating its travel guidance at this time, Walensky said at a White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing on Monday. She stressed that everyone should continue to avoid nonessential trips, regardless of vaccination status. The CDC director cited previous spikes in case counts after surges in travel and the emergence of variants from international locations. (A)
“These guidelines are a first step toward letting people know what aspects of normal life can resume, Walensky said, but could change as new data become available. For instance, the guidelines could become more permissive as vaccination becomes more widespread and cases continue to fall. But if new coronavirus variants that can reinfect even people who have previously had COVID-19 take hold, restrictions might be reimposed.
The news comes as about 2 million coronavirus vaccine shots are being delivered into people’s arms in the United States each day. As of March 8, 59 million adults in the United States have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Of those, 31 million people — 9.2 percent of the U.S. population — are fully vaccinated. That means it’s been at least two weeks since they’ve gotten both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Those numbers are “putting us on a strong path to eventually ending this pandemic,” Walensky said…
Still, “as more Americans get vaccinated, a growing body of evidence tells us that there are some activities that fully vaccinated people can resume at low risk to themselves,” Walensky said.
Fully vaccinated people can start visiting also vaccinated friends and family two weeks after their last jab. For these vaccinated groups, indoor gatherings sans masks or social distancing are OK, according to the new guidelines. Plus, those individuals don’t need to quarantine if exposed to the coronavirus, as long as they don’t have any COVID-19 symptoms.
It gets trickier when unvaccinated people are thrown into the mix, particularly those at high risk of severe illness or death — including those 65 and older and people with health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer that make them more vulnerable to complications, Walensky said. Socializing with unvaccinated high-risk individuals and their family members still isn’t recommended.
But meet-ups among vaccinated people and people from one household who are unvaccinated but at low risk for becoming severely ill if infected with the coronavirus are fine.
Vaccinated people should still avoid larger gatherings, including mask-less get-togethers with more than one unvaccinated household. Vaccinated individuals also shouldn’t meet with someone who is unvaccinated and at high risk for severe COVID-19, or with a high-risk person’s family members. In these scenarios, everyone should still wear a mask and keep their distance.
And while out in public, vaccinated people should still continue to wear well-fitting face masks and keep their distance from others (SN: 2/12/21). That helps further reduce the coronavirus’s spread and protect others who haven’t gotten shots yet. The CDC also still recommends putting off travel and staying home for now.” (B)
“The new recommendations from the C.D.C. are intended to nudge Americans onto a more cautious path with clear boundaries for safe behavior, while acknowledging that most of the country remains vulnerable and many scientific questions remain unanswered.
“With more and more people getting vaccinated, each day we are starting to turn a corner, and as more Americans are vaccinated, a growing body of evidence now tells us that there are some activities that fully vaccinated people can resume at low risk to themselves,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the C.D.C. director, said at a White House news conference on Monday.
But, she added, “While we work to quickly vaccinate people more and more each day, we have to see this through.”
The new advice is couched in caveats and leaves room for amendments as new data become available. The guidance is a “first step,” Dr. Walensky said. “It is not our final destination.”
The agency did not rule out the possibility that fully vaccinated individuals might develop asymptomatic infections and spread the virus inadvertently to others, and urged those who are vaccinated to continue practicing certain precautions.
The new guidelines provide much-needed advice to individuals who remain reluctant to resume in-person, face-to-face interactions even after being vaccinated, said Vaile Wright, senior director for health care innovation at the American Psychological Association.
About half of all adults are anxious about re-entering normal life, including 44 percent of those who have been fully vaccinated, Dr. Wright said, citing soon-to-be published research from the American Psychological Association…
The C.D.C.’s advice is aimed at Americans who are fully vaccinated, meaning those for whom at least two weeks have passed since they received the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, and those for whom at least two weeks have passed since receiving a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
What is safe for newly vaccinated Americans and their unvaccinated neighbors and family members has been uncertain in large part because scientists do not yet understand whether and how often immunized people may still transmit the virus. If so, then masking and other precautions are still be needed in certain settings to contain the virus, researchers have said.
There is also uncertainty about how well vaccines protect against emerging variants of the virus, and how long the vaccine protection lasts.
The C.D.C. said that “a growing body of evidence” suggests that people who are fully vaccinated are less likely to have asymptomatic infections and “potentially less likely to transmit the virus that causes Covid-19 to other people.” Still, the agency did not rule out the possibility that they may inadvertently transmit the virus.” (C)
(A)CDC Says It’s Safe For Vaccinated People To Do These Activities, by ALLISON AUBREY and RACHEL TREISMAN, https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/03/08/974783644/cdc-says-its-safe-for-vaccinated-people-to-do-these-activities
(B)People fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can socialize without masks, CDC says, by JOSE LUIS PELAEZ, https://www.sciencenews.org/article/covid-19-cdc-fully-vaccinated-people-guidelines-social-distancing
(C) Vaccinated Americans may gather indoors in small groups but should still wear masks in public, the C.D.C. said., https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/08/health/covid-vaccine-cdc-guidelines.html?referringSource=articleShare
CDC Issues First Set of Guidelines on How Fully Vaccinated People Can Visit Safely with Others
For Immediate Release: Monday, March 8, 2021
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first set of recommendations on activities that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely resume.
The new guidance—which is based on the latest science — includes recommendations for how and when a fully vaccinated individual can visit with other people who are fully vaccinated and with other people who are not vaccinated. This guidance represents a first step toward returning to everyday activities in our communities. CDC will update these recommendations as more people are vaccinated, rates of COVID-19 in the community change, and additional scientific evidence becomes available.
“We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “There are some activities that fully vaccinated people can begin to resume now in their own homes. Everyone – even those who are vaccinated – should continue with all mitigation strategies when in public settings. As the science evolves and more people get vaccinated, we will continue to provide more guidance to help fully vaccinated people safely resume more activities.”
Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart.
Visit with unvaccinated people from one other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart if everyone in the other household is at low risk for severe disease.
Refrain from quarantine and testing if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 after contact with someone who has COVID-19.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine. Although vaccinations are accelerating, CDC estimates that just 9.2% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine that the FDA has authorized for emergency use.
While the new guidance is a positive step, the vast majority of people need to be fully vaccinated before COVID-19 precautions can be lifted broadly. Until then, it is important that everyone continues to adhere to public health mitigation measures to protect the large number of people who remain unvaccinated.
CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people continue to take these COVID-19 precautions when in public, when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple other households, and when around unvaccinated people who are at high risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19:
Wear a well-fitted mask.
Stay at least 6 feet from people you do not live with.
Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings.
Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Follow guidance issued by individual employers.
Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations.