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CDC Issues New Guidelines for Vaccinated Americans

MONDAY, March 8, 2021 -- New social distancing guidance released by the federal government on Monday gives fully vaccinated Americans more freedom to socialize and move through their communities.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people who are two weeks past their final shot can safely visit indoors with unvaccinated members of a single household at low risk for severe disease without wearing masks or social distancing. That recommendation would free many vaccinated grandparents who live near their unvaccinated children and grandchildren to gather for the first time since the pandemic began a year ago. The CDC also said fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with those who are also fully vaccinated, and they do not need to be quarantined or tested after exposure to COVID-19.

Some restrictions were still advised, even for the vaccinated. For example, if a vaccinated person lives in a group setting and is around someone with COVID-19, they should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even without symptoms. The level of caution people need to exercise should be determined by the characteristics of those who are unvaccinated in a social setting, the CDC said. For instance, if a fully vaccinated person visits an unvaccinated friend who is 70 years old, and therefore at risk for severe disease, the visit should also take place outdoors, with masks and physical distancing, the guidance says.

"We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., said in an agency news release. "There are some activities that fully vaccinated people can begin to resume now in their own homes. Everyone -- even those who are vaccinated -- should continue with all mitigation strategies when in public settings. As the science evolves and more people get vaccinated, we will continue to provide more guidance to help fully vaccinated people safely resume more activities."

The pace of vaccinations in the United States has been accelerating in recent weeks, with more than 58 million Americans having received one shot and nearly 31 million people now fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

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