CDC says fully vaccinated people can ditch indoor masks, physical distancing

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke with CBS' Gayle King on Thursday about wearing masks outside after being fully vaccinated, which the CDC has said is no longer necessary.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that fully vaccinated Americans may return to normal life without masks whether they are indoors or outdoors in the vast majority of settings. Earlier this week, Fauci said that as more people get vaccinated, "we do need to start being more liberal" with mask rules, and when asked if it's time to relax indoor mask mandates, he said, "I think so". In April, the CDC said cruising can restart more quickly if ships have at least 98% of crew and 95% of passengers fully vaccinated. "Based on the continuing downward trajectory of cases, the scientific data on the performance of our vaccines and our understanding of how the virus spreads, that moment has come for those who are fully vaccinated".

"This is an exciting and powerful moment".

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It marked a major step back toward pre-pandemic life in the US.

It could ease restrictions for reopening workplaces, schools, and other venues.

Cruise lines can also allow fully vaccinated passengers to explore independently when they stop at ports, the CDC said, as long as they wear masks indoors.

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More than 14.6 million people are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, and another 5.1 million are partially vaccinated. California's mask mandate, however, would remain in place at least "in the short run", Newsom said at the time.

The announcement from the CDC comes just ahead of the Memorial Day and Fourth of July parade season, the date that President Joe Biden previously said he hopes to have enough Americans vaccinated to begin holding events safely.

As of May 13, approximately 154 million eligible Americans, almost half the population, have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, while more than 115 million are fully vaccinated.

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