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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines on Tuesday regarding mask-wearing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, saying vaccinated people can go maskless outside in most situations. The CDC says vaccinated people should still avoid indoor large-sized in-person gatherings and should wear masks when in large crowds, citing the potential risk of transmission to an unvaccinated person. This comes as over 30% of Americans have been fully vaccinated; the 7-day average death rate from COVID-19 in the U.S. is at its lowest point since October.
The new guidelines made headlines across the spectrum this week. Many reports from left-rated sources worked to explain the guidance and clarify when masks are still recommended. Some right-rated voices criticized the continued mask recommendations, arguing that fully vaccinated people are at very low risk of contracting COVID-19 whether they're indoors or outdoors.
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Snippets from the Right
"For this population, the federal health agency advises masking up in crowded, outdoor events (concerts, sports events, parades), hair salons, uncrowded indoor malls and museums, indoor movie theaters, full-capacity worship services, indoor chorus, indoor bars and restaurants and intense exercise classes."
National Review (Opinion)
"There was a lot of buildup toward the CDC’s announcement relaxing the guidance on the wearing of masks outdoors. The results are now in, and they are a joke. Per the Washington Post, the CDC now says that “fully vaccinated Americans can go without masks outdoors when walking, jogging or biking outdoors, or dining with friends at outdoor restaurants.” But this isn’t the only deliverance the pezzonovante at the CDC are bestowing upon us."
Snippets from the Left
"Widely accepted in some places, they have been protested or completely forgone in others. In the United States, federal guidelines have shifted over time, and individual states have imposed different requirements. Mask-wearing became highly politicized, complicating efforts to enforce usage. But in places like Hong Kong and Japan, face coverings were widely worn even before the pandemic, so everyday mask-wearing easily became routine."
Leana Wen (Opinion)
"Imagine if Wednesday’s joint session had required that all attendees be fully vaccinated. Those who were not vaccinated were not welcome. But those permitted in could walk into the room, take off their mask, sit next to one another, and listen to a presidential address — just as they did in 2019. The science shows that could have been done. It would have sent an unequivocal message that vaccines are safe, effective and the key to ending the pandemic. Instead, the American people got a different message, one that could impede the nation’s vaccine progress at a time when we can least afford it."
Snippets from the Center
USA Today (Analysis)
"Don’t toss your favorite mask just yet, though. Masks are still recommended for most indoor activities and other guidelines vary depending on where you live, any health conditions you may have, and if you’re around any unvaccinated people. Read on to find out when you can and can’t leave that mask behind."
"A report published by the CDC on vaccine completion status through April 9 shows that 8% of all patients — roughly 5 million Americans — who had one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna skipped the second dose. The percentage of those not getting their second shot doubled from 3.4%, according to the CDC’s data through mid-February."