Do I would like a masks open air? In keeping with the CDC, sure actions are protected for people who find themselves absolutely vaccinated
Outdoor activities are safe without masks – regardless of whether a person is vaccinated – as long as people are either alone or with immediate family members, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. And fully vaccinated people can safely gather outdoors in small groups without masks.
The new guidelines are part of an update from the agency on which activities are safest for Americans to do based on whether they are fully vaccinated. that is, those who are two weeks away from their last dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak
“Over the past year we’ve spent a lot of time telling Americans what they can’t and shouldn’t do,” said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, at a briefing on Tuesday. “Today I’m going to tell you a few things that you can do when you are fully vaccinated.”
People who are fully vaccinated should be comfortable outside with other small groups, even without face covering, if it is unclear whether others got their shots.
Fully vaccinated people can safely do without masks when dining with people from other households in outdoor restaurants. The CDC said activities are less safe for unvaccinated people who should stay masked as much as possible while eating outdoors.
For other activities, however, the CDC recommends wearing a mask for people who have been vaccinated. These include attending crowded outdoor events such as concerts or sporting events, attending religious services indoors at full capacity, and exercising in gyms.
Such activities are not considered safe for people who are not vaccinated, according to the CDC.
This appears to be “the CDC’s attempt to reward people who have been vaccinated and to persuade people who have not yet been vaccinated,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
But Schaffner added that the guide is so dense that it may not be easy for many people to use. “It’s pretty complicated. You almost have to keep these guidelines to yourself to find out, ‘Can I do this or can’t I do this?'”
“I don’t see this as the main reason for behavior change,” said Dr. James McDeavitt, Senior Vice President and Dean of Clinical Affairs at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “Honestly, I think we saw that the CDC recommendations, in a sense, followed what the general public does, not what the general public does.”
Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious disease doctor and medical director of the Department of Specific Pathogens at Boston Medical Center, told MSNBC on Tuesday. “It’s important for people to understand how much safer outdoors is compared to indoors.”
The CDC “must continue to demonstrate the importance of internal masking,” said Bhadelia. “We really shouldn’t leave our guard down there.”
In fact, “most of the broadcast happens indoors rather than outdoors,” Walensky said. “There is an almost 20 times higher risk of transmission indoors than outdoors.”
The guide cannot cover every scenario or situation for every person, which means that many people still need to use common sense when deciding whether to attend outdoor events and, if so, whether to wear a mask.
For example, people with weakened immune systems should continue to protect themselves regardless of their vaccination status, said Schaffner.
Download the NBC News App for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak
While the Covid-19 vaccines have been shown to be extremely effective, they should not be relied on for absolute protection.
“Why doesn’t the CDC say, ‘Let’s tear off our masks and go back to the sports arenas and fill churches’? Because the vaccine is 95 percent effective, not 100 percent,” McDeavitt said.
According to the CDC, more than 7,000 breakthrough infections have occurred in people who have been fully vaccinated – that is, those who have become infected despite being vaccinated. Most of these infections are mild and a third never develop symptoms.
As of Tuesday, more than 95 million US adults, or 37 percent, had been fully vaccinated.
Follow NBC HEALTH on Twitter & Facebook.