The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to issue new guidance Thursday telling people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 that they can safely stop wearing masks indoors in most places, a report said Thursday.
The guidance will still encourage wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters — but is expected to ease restrictions for reopening workplaces and schools, a source told the Associated Press.
The new announcement comes two weeks after the CDC said that fully vaccinated people could safely ditch their masks outdoors.
The announcement comes as the Biden administration has faced pressure to roll back COVID-19 rules for vaccinated people in order to incentivize people to get the shot.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who is the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, called on the US last month to “more aggressively” lift restrictions, saying that the country no longer needs to be concerned this time around that when “we take out foot off the brake, things are going to surge again.”
“I think oftentimes a mistake we make is that we’re quicker to implement these precautions than we are to lift them because we’re worried that once we lift them, we won’t be able to reimplement them,” Gottlieb said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“I think we need to lean more aggressively forward and look at ways to try to relax some of the provisions that don’t really make as much sense anymore.”
He added that there’s now less reason to fear that lifting restrictions will cause case numbers to explode.
“Right now, the declines that we’re seeing, we can take to the bank,” he said.
“I think we could feel more assured because they’re being driven by vaccinations and greater levels of population-wide immunity, not just from vaccination, but also from prior infection.”
More than 116 million adults in the US — or about 45 percent — have been fully vaccinated as of Thursday, and at least 151 million, or nearly 59 percent, have received at least one dose, according to the CDC.
Masks will still be strongly encouraged in crowded indoor settings under the CDC’s new guidance.Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images
President Biden announced a new goal earlier this month to get 70 percent of Americans to have at least one shot by July 4, saying the effort could help the US return to “normal.”
“Now that we have the vaccine supply, we’re focused on convincing even more Americans to show up and get the vaccine that is available to them,” Biden said.
“If we succeed in this effort, as we did with the last then Americans will have taken a serious step towards a return to normal.”