First Israel, and now the United States: in these countries, citizens no longer have to wear a mask outside. If in Israel, this lifting concerns everyone, in the United States only vaccinated people can remove the mask outside.
“If you are fully vaccinated and want to participate in a small gathering with people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated, or have dinner at an outdoor restaurant (…) the science shows that it is safe to do so, without a mask, ”said Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the main federal public health agency.
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This allows unvaccinated people to walk, run or cycle with members of their household without wearing masks, the CDC says.
“It’s very simple: if you are vaccinated you can do more things, both indoors and outdoors,” President Joe Biden said on April 27, praising the “extraordinary progress” made. in the United States in recent months in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“On the other hand, we continue to recommend the wearing of the mask in places outside very frequented, like full stadiums or concerts”, specified the director of the CDC during a press briefing.
She justified this exception by the fact that in these situations, many unvaccinated people, and potentially at risk of developing a severe form of Covid-19, may be present.
Indoors, the health authorities also believe that for vaccinated people, participating in activities such as a choir, a religious service, going to the cinema or even to the museum, does not present a risk if they continue to wear a mask.
95.8 million vaccinated
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their last dose of vaccine is injected. This is the case for at least 95.8 million people in the United States, or nearly 30% of the population who have received the necessary dose (s) of one of the three vaccines authorized in the country (Pfizer / BioNtech , Moderna or Johnson & Johnson).
Health authorities have updated their recommendations based on the new announcements. In the United States, restrictions vary by state, and some had strict rules in place requiring masks to be worn anywhere outside their home, even without anyone around. These states should now change these obligations, even if they are not absolutely required to do so.
This is for example the case of Massachusetts, where the governor announced Tuesday that he would lift the obligation to wear a mask outdoors when physical distancing is possible.
One year of wearing masks
Health authorities had started to recommend that all Americans, that is to say, including those who were not sick, to wear masks from the beginning of April 2020, that is to say a little over a year ago. .
It is now widely established that the transmission of Covid-19 occurs mainly by air. That is to say by the droplets emitted when one coughs or sneezes, but also via fine particles which remain suspended in the air and which can be emitted simply by speaking, even by breathing.
For this reason, being in a room indoors is more risky than outdoors because the droplets and aerosols are not evacuated, especially when it is not ventilated. Several studies have reinforced this idea, showing that the vast majority of contamination occurs during indoor contact with an infected person.