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CDC Announces Fully Vaccinated People Can Remove Masks in Private

Credit: Unsplash

Barring trips to the grocery store, it has been months since I have been in the general vicinity of another human being. Now, I don’t especially care because I’m weird, but my parents have been wanting desperately to come visit me. As my mother just got her first Pfizer shot last week and my father’s been fully vaccinated for a couple of months, that time may actually be coming sooner than we all thought.

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced some new updates to their COVID-19 pandemic guidelines, and for those of you who’ve already received your necessary jabs, there’s some good news. According to the new guidelines, fully vaccinated people (i.e., two shots of Moderna or Pfizer or one shot of Johnson & Johnson) can now gather in small groups indoors, no masks or social distancing required. You can hug, you can kiss, you can shake hands, you can do all that stuff you’ve been missing. Additionally, this relaxing of restrictions applies to fully vaccinated grandparents interacting with healthy children and grandchildren, as younger people are considered lower-risk.

“I hope that this new guidance provides the momentum for everyone to get vaccinated when they can and gives states the patience to follow the public health roadmap needed to reopen their economies and communities safely,” said Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a former acting director of the CDC.

Of course, this is not a free pass to go around licking doorknobs. For large areas with a lot of people, the CDC still recommends wearing a mask and distancing, even if you have been fully vaccinated. While a vaccine will protect you from the worst of the coronavirus, it is still possible to catch it and spread it if you aren’t careful, so we do still need a bare minimum of safety until a larger population of people have been vaccinated.

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