Unmasking America: CDC says fully vaccinated people can ditch the mask

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 5:45 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Big news on Thursday, as the CDC recommends that fully vaccinated American’s no longer need to wear a mask indoors or outdoors.

The CDC announced on Thursday that cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 are all trending downward. You can see that data for yourself on the CDC’s COVID-19 dashboard, however at the time of this article some of the data has yet to be updated to the most current figures the CDC reported during Thursday’s announcement.


The current seven day average for COVID cases was reported by the CDC on Thursday as being 23% less than the previous seven days. Also, since vaccinations opened up to all people over the age of 16 the CDC has seen a 45% drop in COVID cases.

These positive changes in COVID-19 metrics are why the CDC changed course on mask wearing. They say that the progress shows that the vaccines do work.

“If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy. 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,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says.

There are some exceptions to the new guidance. The CDC says mask wearing should continue in healthcare settings and while on public transportation such as a bus, train, or airplane. Also, if you get sick, you should go back to wearing a mask.

Per the CDC, those who are not vaccinated still need to mask-up in most situations.

“The science is also very clear about unvaccinated people. You remain at risk of mild or severe illness of death or spreading the disease to others. You should still mask and you should get vaccinated right away,” Dr. Walensky says.

The CDC also announcing on Thursday that all three vaccines approved for use in the US are effective in protecting you against all the COVID-19 variants in the United States. They say these vaccines are safe, effective, and will help get society back to normal. However, new federal mandates (or state and local) could still happen if cases around the country begin to worsen.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on the vaccination rollout, and I want to hear from you. Email me at zach.horner@wndu.com or find me on Facebook and send a message if you have an issue or idea of something we can dig into on the Vaccine Tracker.

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