New guidance on outdoor mask-wearing expected Tuesday

Coronavirus Updates

(ABC4) – Guidance on wearing a mask outside could soon change, according to reports.

President Joe Biden is expected to address the nation on Tuesday, Business Insider and CNBC report. While the details are unclear, it is expected that he’ll address whether those that have been vaccinated still need to wear masks outdoors.

The Associated Press reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expected to unveil guidance specific for those who are unvaccinated with the focus for the coming weeks to be on easing guidance for vaccinated people.

During a Sunday interview on ABC’s ‘This Week With George Stephanopoulos,’ Pres. Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci discussed the topic.

When asked about the CDC “perhaps revisiting their guidance about wearing masks outdoors,” Dr. Fauci said he didn’t “want to get ahead of them.” Below is his full response:

But I think it’s pretty common sense now that outdoor risk is really, really quite low, particularly — I mean, if you are a vaccinated person, wearing a mask outdoors, I mean, obviously, the risk is minuscule.

What I believe you’re going to be hearing, what the country is going to be hearing soon is updated guidelines from the CDC. The CDC is a science-based organization. They don’t want to make any guidelines unless they look at the data, and the data backs it up.

But when you look around at the commonsense situation, obviously, the risk is really very low, particularly if you are vaccinated.

Nearly two months ago, the CDC awaited updated guidance saying fully vaccinated Americans can gather with other fully vaccinated individuals indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing. The CDC considers a person fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their last required dose.

Fully vaccinated people can also visit, without a mask, “with one household of unvaccinated people who are not at risk for severe illness.”

Ahead of Easter, the CDC offered guidelines regarding travel, saying those who are fully vaccinated could resume domestic travel at “low risk.”

While guidance for those fully vaccinated may change, it’s unclear when other mask-wearing guidelines will.

Numerous lawmakers, including Republican Senator Mike Lee from Utah, are calling on for the CDC to explain how the agency determined children 2-years-old and older should wear masks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

In the letter, which you can view here, legislators say:

“The implementation of these recommendations has had serious consequences for some Americans. Multiple parents of young children have been removed from flights, and in some instances, permanently banned, from future travel on the airline they were flying due to their toddler’s refusal to wear a mask. These unfortunate events have occurred despite the parents’ best attempts to have their child cooperate with the mask requirement, which is a struggle millions of parents have faced this past year. For parents of children with disabilities, compliance has proved almost impossible, resulting in increased social isolation and negative mental health consequences.”

The CDC recently relaxed some of its guidance for schools, reducing the distancing students should maintain between each other from six feet to three feet.

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