The Centers for Disease Control loosened masking requirements for vaccinated Americans outdoors but warned that until the majority of people were vaccinated, it was unsafe to attend crowded events without a mask.
“There’s increasing data that suggests that most transmission is happening indoors rather than outdoors,” Walensky said, expressing a few steps that the CDC was making to get Americans “back to normal.”
Wilensky spoke about the new masking rules during a virtual press conference with reporters on Tuesday.
Walensky said masking should continue in crowded outdoor events held in stadiums and concerts, citing the CDC’s concerns about knowing who was actually vaccinated.
“A lot of that is the inability to distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated and to say that in those settings when you have that density we really do worry about protecting the unvaccinated people,” she said.
Americans who are vaccinated, she said, could remove their masks if they were walking, running, or biking outdoors with members of their household, attending a small, outdoor gathering with family and friends, and dining at a restaurant outdoors.
“We will continue to recommend this until widespread vaccination is achieved.”
The CDC released a chart showing that vaccinated people could participate in indoor activities but that they still needed to wear masks indoors.
“This guidance will help you, your family, and your neighbors make decisions on the latest science and allow you to safely get back to things you love to do,” she said.
Walensky said it was important for even vaccinated Americans to keep wearing masks indoors: “I think what we really need to convey here is we still have 50,000 cases a day, we do believe that vaccinated people are much safer when they are wearing those masks indoors.”