Published: Fri, May 14, 2021
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White House hails end of mask requirement for fully vaccinated

White House hails end of mask requirement for fully vaccinated

"I think it's a great milestone, a great day", Biden said, speaking from the Rose Garden. In that update, the CDC said that fully-vaccinated Americans could safely participate in outdoor activities without a mask, so long as those activities did not involve large crowds.

They now say that guests should not wear a mask when doing activities that may get the mask wet, like swimming at a beach or in recreational water facilities.

Biden also stressed that some Americans might not yet feel comfortable taking their masks off and urged people to "treat them with kindness and respect".

But they could remove masks in some less crowded workplaces and schools.

"We have all longed for this moment", CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said at a White House news conference Thursday.

"The rule is very simple: get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do", Biden said.

Walensky clarified later on in Thursday's briefing that the agency still recommends that masks be worn while traveling, including planes, trains and buses.

Walensky noted that people with compromised immune systems should speak to their doctors before giving up their masks.

The announcement comes as new cases have continued to fall to their lowest rate since last September.

The CDC and White House had been facing growing pressure to incentivize getting the Covid-19 vaccine by telling people they wouldn't have to wear a mask if they got it. Deaths have fallen to rates not seen since April 2020 and test positivity rate is at its lowest point since the pandemic began in the country.

About 154 million Americans, more than 46% of the population, have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccines. Federal officials also said vaccinated Americans should abide by existing local and state regulations.

The CDC said that new data collected in the past two weeks showed that vaccines "work in the real world, they stand up to the variants, and vaccinated people are less likely to transmit the virus".

During a virtual meeting Tuesday on vaccinations with a bipartisan group of governors, President Joe Biden appeared to acknowledge that his administration had to do more to model the benefits of vaccination.

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