CDC’s new guidance for fully vaccinated people: Yahoo News Explains

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday that people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus do not have to wear face masks in most indoor and outdoor situations. Yahoo News Medical Contributor Dr. Kavita Patel explains what the new guidance means for Americans, as well as what you need to know about "breakthrough" COVID-19 infections in vaccinated people.

Video Transcript

KAVITA PATEL: So the CDC'S recent guidance is really directed for individuals who are fully vaccinated. And basically states that if you are two weeks pass your second dose, or two weeks passed a one dose vaccine, then you can comfortably take your mask off in indoor as well as outdoor settings of almost all kinds. There are some caveats. The first most important caveat is that your local guidance matters. And we're still waiting to see whether all states, regions, and cities adopt the CDC'S recommendations. So make sure you know before you do anything.

The second biggest caveat is that certain settings-- health care settings, nursing homes, long term care facilities-- are going to continue to have massive requirements. Correctional facilities included as well. The third, public transportation of all types-- bus, rail, metro, planes, trains, and certain public kind of automobile services-- they are going to require masks as well. And that largely has to do with concerns about lifting some sort of mask requirement when people are traveling literally international to domestic and vise versa. Another important point is that if you are traveling internationally, there is still a testing requirement. So be sure to be aware what kind of guidance you might need not only at the state level, but the national level as well.

There have been reports of possibly eight Yankees players who have suffered what we call breakthrough infections, which means they were documented as being positive for the coronavirus after being vaccinated. The majority of them, I think all of them except one, were asymptomatic. And I think that's important to remember for two reasons. Number one, these vaccines do not prevent you from contracting or getting the coronavirus in your nose. But they do prevent you from getting sick from them. That's the point. So it's not shocking even though it's unusual to test positive after getting vaccinated. But seeing these types of what we call breakthrough infections are not unusual. They're rare. They're about less than 1% of all people who are vaccinated. But they do happen.

Today, CDC is updating our guidance for fully vaccinated people. Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing. The CDC guidelines really were directed for individuals. And we expect to see further guidance for schools and other settings. This does leave businesses in a bit of a quandary. Businesses are going to have to make decisions about their own requirements, and make decisions about proof of vaccination.

The CDC was silent on what would constitute kind of proof of vaccination. Bottom line? Keep close your vaccination card and a picture of it because it could be the very thing you need to enter into certain businesses, grocery stores, movie theaters, or other settings. Most important is that if you are not vaccinated, you still need to continue wearing a mask indoors as well as in outdoor settings of certain types. If you are not vaccinated, I can't think of a better motivation or incentive to get vaccinated then the fact that once you are fully vaccinated, you can remove the mask in almost all settings.

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