Possible easing of mask requirements outdoors are among new recommendations for fully vaccinated people expected to be announced Tuesday by the Biden administration.
Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the agency was “looking at” whether it’s still necessary to wear a mask outdoors, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, said Sunday that federal health officials might loosen mask requirements, The New York Times reported.
A vaccinated person’s risk of infection outdoors is “minuscule,” according to Fauci.
“I think it’s pretty common sense now that outdoor risk is really, really quite low,” for vaccinated people, Fauci said on the ABC News program “This Week,” the Times reported.
There’s increasing evidence that the risk of coronavirus spread is far lower outdoors than indoors because virus particles disperse quickly outdoors.
Several states have already dropped mask mandates and fully reopened indoor and outdoor venues, even for large sporting events. New York still has mask requirements.
A growing body of research indicates that the risk of spreading the virus is far lower outdoors than indoors. Viral particles disperse quickly outdoors, experts say, meaning brief encounters with a passing walker or jogger pose very little risk of transmission.
“That biker who whizzes by without a mask poses no danger to us, at least from a respiratory virus perspective,” Dr. Paul Sax, an infectious disease specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, wrote in a blog post for the New England Journal of Medicine, the Times reported.
The CDC currently recommends that vaccinated people wear masks and maintain 6 feet of distance from others in public, including while taking public transportation such as buses, trains or planes and while in transportation hubs. It also recommends they continue to avoid crowds, large gatherings and poorly ventilated spaces, the Times said.
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