(WETM) – President Joe Biden and CDC Director Rochelle Walinsky announced face coverings are no longer required for fully vaccinated Americans outside. The new guidance comes as Americans are experiencing COVID fatigue. Many are hoping the loosening guidance for vaccinated people encourages others to receive their shots.
These mandates continue to update as nearly one-third of Americans are fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus. This is a sign of normalcy for many and health officials say this is a step in the right direction.
“The scientists have been telling us that there’s really no safer place than being outdoors,” Steuben County Public Health Director Darlene Smith said.
The new guidance does not extend to those who do are not vaccinated against the COVID-19. All people should continue wearing masks indoors. Also, President Biden made it clear today that masks should be worn in large outdoor gatherings as well.
“If you’re in a crowd like a stadium, conference, or concert, you still need to wear a mask,” President Biden added.
The CDC says fully vaccinated people are more protected and can do more things without the risk of severe infection or spreading it to others.
“Transmissibility for COVID 19 infection is a lot lower in an open environment like outdoors,” infectious disease expert Dr. Justin Nistico of Arnot Health continued.
Chemung County Exectutive Christopher Moss added, “I’m definitely in favor of no mask outside and hopefully we can take care of no mask inside before the summer’s over.”
According to public health experts, vaccination is the best defense against COVID-19 and they encourage everyone to consider getting their vaccine soon.
“I think at this point we’ve offered vaccinations to everybody that wants to receive them. At some point ,we’re going to have to deal with the fact that there’s a large segment of the population that is going to decide not to receive the vaccination,” Moss said. “I don’t think we can be punitive towards them and tell them you know what we can’t go to this event or that event if you haven’t been vaccinated, they know what the risks are.”
This is a growing debate in the health sector as large events, like sports games and concerts require vaccination or a negative COVID test upon entry. Smith believes these changes may encourage more people to get vaccinated.
“I believe the changes will help sway some to think ‘Okay, there’s enough incentive. There’s enough reward to make it worth my while,” Smith continued.
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