Nearly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic began, we are beginning to see more signs of life going back to normal. While cases of the virus are still surging across the world, the introduction of various vaccines has been a step in the right direction towards life pre-COVID (AKA no masks, less social distancing, and being able to gather in large crowds). In just a few short months since the COVID-19 vaccine was released to the public, government officials are beginning to lessen restrictions for those who receive the vaccine.
On Tuesday, April 27th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (more commonly referred to as the CDC), released new mask guidelines for Americans. They wrote, “Americans who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus no longer need to wear a mask outdoors while walking, running, hiking or biking alone, or when in small gatherings, including with members of their own households.” At the same time, masks will still be required in crowded outdoor venues, such as sports stadiums. This is huge progress for the country, as most citizens have not seen their neighbor without a mask for over a year. The CDC’s announcement can be seen as an incentive for those who are not yet vaccinated; in fact, one senator encouraged people to get vaccinated, “so we can throw away our masks and live life as free as before.”
While this ruling is great news in regards to progress, the CDC still cites concerns of transmission. There are still many unknowns concerning going completely maskless, such as varying vaccine levels in crowds, and the fact that there are still so many positive cases in the country. This caution can be seen especially in the fact that the CDC is still cautioning even fully vaccinated individuals from attending maskless, medium size outdoor gatherings. Utilizing masks as an incentive to get vaccinated could be exactly what the country needs, seeing that countless citizens are having a hard enough time wearing them as it is. Multiple states have already lifted their restrictions for indoor and outdoor activities, but only time will tell how these rulings will turn out. It is clear however, that the more the public is vaccinated, the sooner we can return to pre-pandemic festivities.