[WATCH] CDC Considers Revision of Outdoor Mask Guidelines
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) appeared on the “TODAY” Thursday morning and announced that the agency is considering revising its mask guidance. Masks protect against coronavirus infection, but with more than 84 million adults in the United States fully vaccinated against Covid-19, there are growing questions about whether wearing masks outdoors is still needed.
“We’ll be looking at the outdoor masking question, but also in the context of the fact that we still have people who are dying of Covid-19,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.
Some health experts are increasingly calling for mask restrictions to be eased for outdoor activities, while several states where mask orders are still in effect are making moves to loosen restrictions for outdoors. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper hopes to lift restrictions, including an outdoor mask mandate, by June 1st. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is considering a change to outdoor mask guidance by June. Connecticut will lift mask requirements for outside in mid-May, along with transitioning indoor mask rules from mandate to guidance.
CDC Director Walensky says on the Today show they are still studying it, but the data on breakthrough cases (people who get Covid-19 despite being 2+ weeks vaccinated) shows about 1/3 are completely asymptomatic and many have such low virus, they can't spread it others.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) April 22, 2021
Masks should still be used during large outdoor gatherings where people are close together for a prolonged period of time, such as public transportation or sports events in packed arenas. But passing someone on a street or going for a run without a mask is increasingly becoming a very low-risk situation.
Congratulations on being fully vaccinated! You should always wear a mask over your nose & mouth when in public settings, incl. public transportation. Until we get a large enough percentage of the population vaccinated, it would be difficult to say when we can stop wearing a mask. https://t.co/GYOBBdbSAx
— Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH (@CDCDirector) April 22, 2021
A review paper published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that less than 10 percent of transmission occurs outdoors and the odds of spreading the virus indoors were 19 times higher. However, experts at Northwestern University argue keeping masks on when you’re outside — even after you’re vaccinated — is not only a “social courtesy,” but also helps “model the behavior” for children, who can’t yet get the shot.
If you are fully vaccinated against #COVID19, you can start doing some things again, like gathering indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks. Learn more: https://t.co/FJMon7WlFO. pic.twitter.com/DslBMmrTno
— CDC (@CDCgov) April 21, 2021
According to current CDC guidance, “masks may not be necessary when you are outside by yourself away from others, or with people who live in your household.” Health experts hope the CDC will more clearly outline high-risk situations when masks are truly needed.
Watch Dr. Walensky’s appearance on the TODAY Show, below.