White House hails end of mask requirement for fully vaccinated

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday that people that are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear face masks or practice distancing indoors or outdoors, except under specific circumstances.

Later on Thursday, President Joe Biden delivered remarks about the CDC's updated mask guidelines, during which he called the new guidance "a great milestone". "But we know that the more people who are vaccinated, the less cases we will have and the less chances of a new spike or additional variants emerging".

"That's how we have gotten to this day".

Biden also stressed that some Americans might not yet feel comfortable taking their masks off and urged people to "treat them with kindness and respect".

"Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask".

"If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic", the CDC website now states.

"You should still mask and you should get vaccinated right away", Walensky advised those who haven't been vaccinated.

Walensky said that some people should still keep their masks at hand.

More news: Ontario to pause first doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines

The only exception to the rule is in certain crowded indoor spaces, such as buses, and planes, and in congregate settings, such as hospitals, homeless shelters and jails, where CDC still recommends people mask up.

Walensky noted that people with compromised immune systems should speak to their doctors before giving up their masks.

It's estimated that 154 million Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, which represents more than 46% of the population.

"If you are not fully vaccinated you are not fully protected". Federal officials also said vaccinated Americans should abide by existing local and state regulations.

While the vaccines are helping slow down the spread of the virus, it does not guarantee that the vaccinated are immune from catching or spreading the virus.

The CDC defines "fully vaccinated" as two weeks after receiving a second jab of a two-dose vaccine, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

"I would like to say that we have fully vaccinated people; we should start acting like it", Utah Republican Governor Spencer Cox told Biden during the meeting.

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