Despite the excitement of increasing COVID-19 vaccinations, today the CDC reminds us that we should still be mindful of places and situations that require mask readiness.
According to new guidance released Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “People who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no longer have to wear masks inside or outside, nor do they have to stay 6 feet away from others.”
But (which seems to be the catch-word of 2021 so far), there are certain cases in which you'll still need to mask up - like on public transit, or in hospitals, nursing homes, healthcare settings, as well as some local businesses and workplaces, CNN reports. And children will still be required to wear masks at school.
Also, as per the new CDC guidance, "If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may NOT be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. Talk to your healthcare provider. Even after vaccination, you may need to continue taking all precautions."
Some who are immunocompromised, even if completely vaxxed up, may still be susceptible to the virus. Those with HIV/AIDS, organ transplant patients, and those going through chemotherapy need to be extra mindful and should continue to wear masks. Current cancer patients and survivors should definitely check with their doctors about whether to toss the mask away.
Others who should also check with their doctors are those currently afflicted with common autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis. and lupus. Other conditions that affect immunity to a lesser extent are diabetes, obesity, chronic kidney disease, liver or heart disease, and old age.
Of course, this means that if you are around those with immunity problems, you should try to wear a mask yourself.
For pregnant women, the CDC simply says they can make the decision on whether to mask or not themselves.
"What we would recommend,” says CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, “is certainly for people who have immune-compromising diseases or on those medications to consult their physicians… Really, again, not everybody has to rip off their mask because our guidance changed on Thursday. So, yes, if you are concerned, please do consult your physician before you take off your mask."