Outdoor mask guidance reflects what many Americans are already doing

In the small town of Oxford, Nebraska, the school district withdrew Maskman Date last month with a fairly simple decision. Incidents have declined dramatically, and their move ignoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not bother local authorities. Guidelines.

These federal mask guidelines did not appear to fit well with the local situation in a town of about 800 people with few people wearing masks.

“We didn’t pay much attention to what was happening at the federal level, mainly through the state,” said Southern Valley director Bryce Jorgensen. “You can’t compare Chicago to Oxford, Nebraska. Things are just different.”

On Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed guidelines for wearing masks outdoors, and fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to cover their faces unless they are in a large crowd of strangers. Said. Also, unvaccinated people can go out without a mask in some situations.

For most of the past year, the CDC has advised Americans to wear masks outdoors if they are within 6 feet of each other.

This decision marks the latest step towards normalizing the US government, but it has happened because many countries have already transitioned from masking rules. The CDC basically approved what many Americans are already doing.

On the same day that the CDC updated its guidance, the Governor of Louisiana partially lifted the state’s Maskman date. This was the first Democratic governor to make such a move during President Joe Biden. Elsewhere, local government leaders have abolished masking rules, and in many states, face coverings are rarely seen indoors, as well as outdoors.

In Montgomery, Alabama, 73-year-old Judy Adams said he hadn’t worn masks outside since the early days of the pandemic a year ago and would only put them inside when the store mandated them. Alabama had state-wide mask mandates until the Governor expired.

“I think it’s ridiculous because it’s useless,” she said of the mask rules. “This is about control and fear. It’s nothing more than control and fear.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the federal government has struggled to achieve state-to-state public health coherence. The CDC publishes guidelines on masks, social distance, travel, and other activities, but it is up to the governor to comply with the measures. Some states did not have mask obligations, but others still have mask obligations.

“I think today is a day when we can take a step back from what it was before,” said Dr. Rochelle Warrensky, director of the CDC, on Tuesday. “Over the past year, we’ve spent a lot of time telling Americans what you can’t do. Today, I’ll talk about some of the things you can do if you’re fully vaccinated.”

According to the CDC, people do not need to wear masks when walking outdoors, biking, running alone or running with their families, whether or not they are fully vaccinated. .. Unvaccinated people can also go maskless to small field meetings with fully vaccinated people.

However, unvaccinated people (defined as those who have not yet received both doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot formula) are small outdoor gatherings, including other unvaccinated people. You need to wear a mask at the CDC, says. You should also cover your face when dining at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households.

Also, according to the CDC, you should continue to wear a mask at crowded outdoor events such as concerts and sporting events, whether or not you are fully vaccinated.

The agency continues to recommend masks in indoor public places such as hair salons, restaurants, shopping centers, gyms, museums and cinemas, saying it is a safe course for vaccinated people. ..

This change occurs because more than half of adults in the United States, or about 140 million, have been vaccinated at least once and more than one-third have been fully vaccinated.

Warensky said the decision was driven by an increase in vaccination numbers. Reduced cases of COVID-19, hospitalization and mortality; studies showing that less than 10% of recorded cases of viral infection occurred outdoors.

The new guidance represents another carefully tuned step towards returning to normal from an outbreak of the coronavirus that killed more than 570,000 people in the United States.

Rob Webster, a 49-year-old church member in Plano, Texas, said the new guidelines sound “reasonable,” but he has some reservations.

“My only concern is that so many people just want to put a strain on the system,” said Webster, communications director at the United Methodist Church on Custer Road.

“So I don’t know if I was around a group of people who didn’t wear masks, are they really vaccinated? … it scared me a little more and around me Reduces trust in people. “

In the Nebraska School District, Director Jorgensen said the district decided to abolish the mask rules based on the conditions of the provinces and regions where masking was not obligatory for the entire state.

The risk of the virus increased in the district last fall, when state-wide cases peaked, but since January there have been no cases in the district and reported cases in two counties around the district. There were less than 12. I made a decision.

According to Jorgensen, the area is still paying attention, and if a virus test is positive, students will need to be quarantined for 10 days, but mask obligations no longer seem to be necessary.

“We didn’t throw everything out of the window completely. We still monitor it carefully and monitor every possible situation, but they seem a bit extreme. “Jorgensen said the federal mask recommendations. “I think there are people here who can make good decisions locally, and that’s why we did it the way we did it.”


The Associated Press writer John Zener contributed to this report. The AP Health Sciences Department is supported by the Science Education Department of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.