The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published its long-awaited guidance for Americans who have received the Covid-19 vaccine on Monday, offering more freedom for those individuals with many safety precautions still in place as the country embarks upon a return to normal.

Key Facts

The new guidance says fully vaccinated individuals (who are two weeks past their final shot) may safely gather with small groups from other households without masks or social distancing, and can visit with unvaccinated people from a single household if those people are “low risk.”

The CDC gave grandparents visiting their grandkids as an example of an interaction now possible, saying: “Fully vaccinated grandparents can visit indoors with their unvaccinated healthy daughter and her healthy children without wearing masks or physical distancing, provided none of the unvaccinated family members are at risk of severe Covid-19.”

Fully vaccinated individuals may also refrain from quarantine and testing if they are exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus but are not showing symptoms—unless the exposure happens in a crowded place where there is an increased risk of spread.

Despite the new freedoms, the CDC is still recommending fully vaccinated people continue to follow a number of safety precautions, like wearing masks and distancing in public, avoiding medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings and following the agency’s existing travel recommendations (the CDC is still calling to avoid travel).

“I want to stress that we continue to have high levels of the virus around the country and more readily transmissible variants have been confirmed in nearly every state,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director, said during a Monday press conference, adding: “Please keep wearing a well-fitting mask and taking the precautions we know help to stop the spread of this virus.”

Crucial Quote

“Today’s action represents an important first step, but it is not our final destination,” Walensky said, explaining that the CDC will continue to update the guidelines as more people get vaccinated and levels of Covid-19 decline in communities. “We look forward to updating these recommendations to the public.”

Key Background

After a slow beginning to the country’s vaccine rollout, the U.S. has been delivering millions of doses a day, hitting a new daily record on Saturday with 2.9 million shots given. A total of 58.9 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to The Washington Post’s vaccine tracker, with 48.3% of the prioritized population inoculated.

What To Watch For

President Biden said last week the U.S. will have enough Covid-19 vaccine doses to cover every adult by mid-May, expediting the previous timeline offered by his administration by several weeks.

Further Reading

“Biden Now Promises Vaccines For Every Adult By Mid-May — Weeks Earlier Than Expected” (Forbes)

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