Americans who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 can say goodbye to one of the symbols of the epidemic: For them, health authorities raised their recommendation to wear a mask on Thursday, “a great day” according to Joe Biden.
The US president cheered from the White House gardens saying, “If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask!”
“I think this is a big step and a great day,” he added, calling on all Americans who have not yet been vaccinated to do so without delay.
Currently, approximately 35% of the US population, or more than 117 million people, are fully vaccinated, meaning they have received either one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two doses of the vaccine. Vaccines from Moderna or Pfizer / BioNTech.
Rochelle Wallinski, director of the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the main federal public, announced that they can now participate without risk “in indoor and outdoor activities, small or large, without wearing a mask or respecting physical distancing.” Health agency.
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“We have all waited for this moment for a long time as we found a semblance of normality,” she welcomed without victory in light of the more than 580,000 deaths from the virus in the country.
The one exception: Health authorities always recommend that people who have been vaccinated continue to wear masks in transportation (planes, buses, trains, etc.) as well as at airports and train stations.
Adolescents were vaccinated
Desmond, 67, responded immediately after the announcement, saying “That’s cool”, wearing a mask hanging on the streets of Washington around his neck. “We are ahead” over the rest of the world, he noted.
Others remained hesitant despite everything. “I will continue to wear the mask indoors,” Mubarak Daher, 57, who has been vaccinated since early April, told AFP. “I think it is too early, and it is dangerous to think that we have already reached this stage.”
However, the health authorities stressed that they based their decision on the latest scientific data: Studies have shown that vaccines are not only effective against symptomatic cases, but also against the possibility of infection, as well as against the circulating variants. Rochelle Wallinski.
She also stressed the fact that the few people who contracted the disease despite being vaccinated were still not very contagious.
Another factor that played in favor of this change: The number of COVID-19 cases has dropped sharply in the country. The average daily incidence for a period of seven days has decreased to about 36,000, and the daily mortality curve has been at its lowest since early April 2020.
However, “if you develop symptoms, you should wear your mask again and get tested immediately,” said Rochelle Wallinski.
She also warned that if the health situation worsened, these recommendations could still be amended.
But experts believe that this scenario should not happen again, thanks to the aggressive vaccination campaign. The latter said more than 250,000 injections had been given in 114 days since Joe Biden’s mandate began.
And on Thursday, American teens between the ages of 12 and 15 were also able to start getting vaccinated with the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.
One year of the mask
The authorities began recommending that all Americans, that is, including those who are not sick, wear masks from the beginning of April 2020, that is, more than a year ago.
They have already gradually started to soften their recommendations in recent weeks.
So far, it is recommended that people who have been vaccinated do not wear a mask outdoors (except in crowds), and indoors between them. They can also meet unmasked with unvaccinated people, but only from one family at a time, and if they are not risk factors for Covid-19.
Elsewhere, the euphoria the United States felt, on the contrary, seemed distant. Coronavirus continues to particularly affect the world of sports: After Istanbul was excluded from the Champions League final due to the health situation, UEFA announced on Thursday that it will be held in Porto.
In Tokyo, the virus is still hovering over the organization of the Olympiad, and the Japanese Hospital Doctors Association considered it “impossible” to hold these games at a time when the country is facing a fourth wave.
Plans for some teams to train in Japan before the Games began. And so the United States athletics team surrendered.