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Vaccinated Americans await CDC guidance as states ease restrictions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected this week to issue eagerly awaited guidance regarding how or whether Americans vaccinated against the coronavirus may set aside restrictions adopted to slow its spread.

More than 30 million people in the United States — more than 8% of the population — are fully vaccinated, and many are wondering if it is safe to get together with friends and family, to travel or stop wearing masks, or to resume activities like going to gyms and restaurants.

“Those guidelines are coming out from the CDC really imminently,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser on COVID-19, said on Sunday on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”

He suggested that the recommendations could be issued within the next couple of days.


The new advice had been expected last week, but Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the CDC director, said in a White House briefing on Friday that “these are complex issues, and the science is rapidly evolving.”

“Our goal, and what is most important, is that people who have been vaccinated and those not yet vaccinated are able to understand the steps they can take to protect themselves and their loved ones,” she added. “We are making sure and taking the time to get this right.”

The clamor for federal guidance comes as some governors have begun lifting state restrictions, despite warnings from health officials that it is much too soon and criticism from Biden that such actions represent “Neanderthal thinking.”

Last week, Texas and Mississippi, both Republican-led states, lifted statewide mask mandates. Restaurants have reopened for limited indoor dining in New York City. Officials in Connecticut plan to end capacity limits on restaurants, gyms and offices this month. In at least a half-dozen states, officials are insisting that schools offer in-person instruction for at least some grades.

“We need the country open,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., where the mask mandate has not yet been lifted, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We need kids back in school every day with a mask, without a mask. We know how to stay safe. We know what we need to do: get vaccinated.”

Asked if lifting mask mandates would inspire some people to stop taking protective measures, Barrasso, an orthopedic surgeon, said, “Well, people need to take precautions. I have my mask with me right here. I’m going to continue to wear a mask. And I think people will use good judgment to do so.”

On Sunday, Gov. Jim Justice of West Virginia, who recently loosened restrictions on businesses but has kept the state’s mask mandate, said that other governors needed to be more incremental in lifting mandates.

“I don’t like the mask, either,” Justice, a Republican, said on “Face the Nation,” adding that he believed the mandates were still necessary for probably at least another month.

“I have a saying — ‘one robin doesn’t make spring,’” he said. If Americans start to celebrate too early, he added, there will be consequences: “You’re about to get hit by a winter storm.”

There is still some scientific ambiguity around which behaviors are safe for people who have been vaccinated. While the vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious illness and death, there is not yet sufficient evidence on whether vaccinated people may still transmit the virus to others.



Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said Sunday on “Meet the Press” that it was important that the CDC issue guidelines that are pragmatic and recognize the conundrums faced by Americans trying to navigate a society in which some people are vaccinated while others await their turn.

“If we just tell people that they’ve got to stay cocooned, that they’ve got to stay in their homes, that they’ve got to continue to wear their masks, even though they’re fully vaccinated — they’re not going to do that,” Osterholm said. “They’re going to disregard the public health recommendations, so we have to get real.”

The guidelines should address questions like whether grandparents who are vaccinated can see their grandchildren, he added. And the recommendations should distinguish between activities that might be relatively reasonable for vaccinated people and those that should still be off-limits, like going to crowded restaurants.

As of Sunday, Biden administration officials still were urging communities to maintain precautions until more progress has been made.

“We just need to hang in there a bit longer,” Fauci said. “We will be pulling back on these mitigation measures. It’s not going to be this way indefinitely, for sure.”


Refernce:  https://flyu.in/Jfj8mz

88 views Mar 8, 2021

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