Masks Off Outdoors Approved for Millions of Vaccinated Americans

Millions of vaccinated Americans on Tuesday were freed from government recommendations on outdoor mask-wearing.  U.S. President Joe Biden pulls off his face mask as he arrives to speak about loosening coronavirus mask guidelines, outside the White House in Washington, April 27, 2021.Biden used the occasion to renew a plea to the unvaccinated, saying the relaxed mask guidance “is another great reason to go get vaccinated.”  As of Tuesday, according to the CDC, nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated with 42 percent having received at least one shot.  “As we gather more and more data on the real-world efficacy of vaccines, we know that masked fully vaccinated people can safely attend worship services inside, go to an indoor restaurant or bar, and even participate in an indoor exercise class,” CDC Director Dr. Rachel Walensky told reporters prior to the president’s remarks.  Americans, however, need to remain more vigilant with others when indoors.  “There’s increasing data that suggests that most of transmission is happening indoors rather than outdoors — less than 10 percent of documented transmission in many studies has occurred outdoors,” explained Walensky. “We also know that there’s almost a 20-fold increased risk of transmission in the indoor setting than in the outdoor setting.”  Vaccine safetyOne challenge health authorities face is a hesitancy among some of the unvaccinated to get their shots. That is partly due to concerns about the vaccines causing rare but serious side effects. The CDC voted late last week to permit the resumption of the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine accompanied by a new warning about an increased risk of rare but life-threatening blood clots for adult women under 50. FILE – The Pfizer vaccine is given amid the coronavirus pandemic, in the Harlem section of Manhattan in New York City, New York, April 23, 2021.Walensky told reporters on Tuesday that the CDC has not seen a link between heart inflammation and the vaccines. “We have not seen a signal and we’ve actually looked intentionally for the signal in the over 200 million doses we’ve given,” she said when asked about the Defense Department’s investigation of 14 cases of heart inflammation among those vaccinated through the military’s health services. Israel’s Health Ministry is examining a small number of cases of heart inflammation in people, mostly those under the age of 30, who had received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.  Meanwhile, the Canadian province of Quebec has reported its first death of a patient, a 54-year-old woman, from the AstraZeneca vaccine due to clotting. 

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