U.S. President Joe Biden celebrated new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday (May 13) saying that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors and can avoid wearing them indoors in most places.
“I think it’s a great milestone, a great day,” Biden told reporters from the White House rose garden.
“If you’re fully vaccinated and can take your mask off, you’ve earned the right to do something that Americans are known for all around the world: greeting others with a smile,” he said, flashing a brief smile himself.
The CDC also said fully vaccinated people will not need to physically distance in most places. The agency also hopes the guidance will prod more Americans to get vaccinated.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the new guidance just two weeks after its most recent update, was based on a sharp reduction in cases, expansion of vaccines to younger people and vaccine efficacy against coronavirus variants.
The CDC had faced criticism, even from public health officials, that it has been too cautious in its guidance. Critics have said people need to see more benefit of getting vaccinated in terms of returning to normal activities.
(Production: Vanessa Johnston)