The CDC Will Relax Indoor and Outdoor Mask Guidelines for Vaccinated

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will relax their mask-wearing guidelines for fully vaccinated people, according to the Associated Press.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is slated to announce the updated guidelines at a White House briefing on Thursday. Although the CDC will continue to urge all people to wear masks in crowded indoor settings—e.g., buses, airplanes, and hospitals—it will reportedly tell the fully vaccinated that they will not need masks in most other places.

The CDC’s new guidelines will also permit fully vaccinated people to go maskless in crowded outdoor settings. These changes come two days after President Joe Biden seemed to admit during a virtual meeting with governors that his administration hadn’t been doing enough to, in the language of the AP, “model the benefits of vaccination.”

They also come just two weeks after the CDC urged the fully vaccinated to keep wearing masks in all indoor settings and in crowded outdoor settings. Big League Politics recently covered the criticism the agency received for these overly cautious and disincentivizing guidelines:

STAT, a health and medicine news site, has published an article drawing attention to how the CDC has responded far too slowly to a coalescing scientific consensus on certain matters pertaining to COVID-19.

For example, it took the CDC several months to update its guidelines on the disinfection of surfaces. Many scientists have known since the winter—or longer—that surface transmission of COVID-19 is virtually impossible. But the CDC didn’t officially shed its recommendation of rigorous surface cleaning until April.

Then there are the masks. The CDC recently issued guidelines that urged fully vaccinated people to continue wearing masks at all indoor public places. They also said that fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks outdoors—except in large, crowded settings. These odd, disincentivizing guidelines even prompted left-wing “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah to ask who’s “running messaging at the CDC.”

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