COVID-19 is a disease that present’s itself after being exposed to the deadly coronavirus, now referred to as SARS-CoV-2. This disease has caused a global pandemic and with the third wave of the disease, the target of the world is around creating herd immunity by vaccinating as many people as possible. This disease requires immense precaution as it is a droplet infection, spreading through the cough, sneeze, and saliva or nasal discharge of the infected person, so the protection guidelines previously announced included, wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, and washing hands frequently.
With the large number of people being vaccinated globally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the USA has revised COVID-19 guidelines. The one most pleasant change in the guidelines is for the vaccinated individuals, who no longer need to wear a mask indoors or practice social distancing.
CDC posted the Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People on its official web page that highlighted no-need for face masks or physical distance indoors for the individuals who are fully vaccinated, except where it is required by the law or regulations. It is to be noted that the masks are still advised for individuals who aren’t fully vaccinated against coronavirus. The term fully vaccinated means that the person is past the 2-week mark after the second dose of the vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) and a two-week past single dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. According to a recent estimate, approximately 35 percent of the population in the United States of America are fully vaccinated.
The gradual ‘unmasking’ had been underway since March 2021. Initially, CDC recommended that the vaccinated individuals can gather indoors without the masks, then they fully vaccinated people are allowed to go without masks out-doors (except where required by the law) and now the fully vaccinated (those who waited for two weeks post-vaccination) can take their masks off entirely.
The two-week wait is necessary to let the vaccine do its thing. The exceptions are still there, like those who are working in a healthcare setting, or people living in homeless shelters, or individuals using public transportation will have to still keep their face masks on.
This announcement has been a great relief to people and is a step forward towards the return to normal pre-COVID life. Everyone misses the old days and now vaccine proved to be a ray of hope, which is evident by this new ‘unmasking’ guidelines. COVID-19 vaccine has been effective in not only protecting healthy individuals (prevention) but it has proved to have positive effects on the decline in the number of serious infections, hospitalization, and death.
All the excitement is good, but this doesn’t mean to simply throw out your face masks, as they are still helpful in protecting you and others around you, particularly indoors. Once enough people have been vaccinated (herd immunity) against COVID-19, the rate of spread of disease will decline drastically but since the USA hasn’t achieved that mark, so this time is precarious in the pandemic and needs extra care so the new variant can’t pop up.
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