The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidance for fully vaccinated Americans, allowing them to go mask-free in outdoor and most indoor settings.
The guidance, updated on Thursday, however, calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.
Announcing it at a news conference, President Joe Biden said, “If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask”. He described it as “a great milestone”, and “a great day.”
“It has been made possible by the extraordinary success we’ve had in vaccinating so many Americans so quickly,” according to the President.
“To date, we have given out 250 million shots in 114 days, and we’re seeing the results,” he added. Cases are down in 49 of the 50 states. Hospitalizations are the lowest they’ve been since April 2020. Deaths are down 80 percent and also at their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic, Biden said.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced at a routine news briefing $7.4 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan to hire, train, and support public health workers across the country.
Citing recently published studies in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Dr. Walensky said that vaccines were 90 percent effective against any infection in nearly 4,000 healthcare workers in the United States. It was also found that vaccines were 94 percent effective against hospitalizations from COVID-19 in an evaluation across 24 hospitals in 14 states.
White House Senior Advisor for COVID Response Andy Slavitt said since everyone 16 and over became eligible for vaccination, cases have dropped by 45 percent.
The United States reported 39825 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, taking the national total to 33,626,097. This represents a decrease of about 23 percent from the previous seven-day average.
762 new deaths were reported in the country on the same day. With this, the COVID death toll in the U.S. increased to 598,540.
The weekly average of daily deaths has declined to 587 per day.
The seven-day average of hospital admissions is 4,100, a 12 percent decline from the previous period.
A total of 26,667,199 people have so far recovered from coronavirus infection in the country.
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