This information is current as of the publication date; it is general medical information that helps doctors and patients make decisions about what is right for them. Medical recommendations and practice changes as we learn new things. If you wonder what is right for you , please discuss with your doctor before taking any action.
Now that many of us have been vaccinated against the coronavirus we want to know what we can safely do. We should also be wondering what is the risk of various activities, as nothing will ever be risk free.
And many state governors, including mine, are removing COVID-19 mitigation measures, including mask mandates and recommendations. So we need to stay informed so we can be “personally responsible.” (My governor’s favorite phrase.)
update April 27, 2021
The CDC has updated the guidelines and address wearing masks outdoors.
Here is what the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, posted on their web site as of April 27, 2021.
For the purposes of this guidance, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19
- ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or We
- ≥2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen ).
Fully vaccinated people can:
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- You can gather or conduct activities outdoors without wearing a mask except in certain crowded settings and venues.
- Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic
- If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
- You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:
- Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
- Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
- Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
- Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
- Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
- Follow guidance issued by individual employers
- Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations
My key points from these recommendations
- Refrain from quarantine and testing if exposed, unless you have symptoms.
- Interactions involving ONLY people who are fully vaccinated are low risk.
- Interactions involving people not vaccinated have more risk.
- Interactions with people who are at increased risk of severe disease should be approached cautiously, with safeguards fully in place.
- Attending large group gatherings still carries significant risk to all involved.
- Outdoor activities are very low risk, but are not 100% safe either, especially for unvaccinated people
- Testing is still important.
- Travel within the United States requires no pre or post testing or quarantine.
- For international travel, you will still be required to follow the rules for the countries you are visiting upon arrival and while there.
Testing, testing, testing
Testing helps us identify cases, trace contacts, and prevent spread. With fewer cases, public health professionals can find contacts easier and sooner. Stopping spread will make the variant viruses less of a threat.
So please don’t stop seeking testing if you have symptoms; it is still important to know how many cases of COVID-19 there are. If we only know about the severe cases that required hospitalization, it will skew the statistics, and be less representative of the true extent of the pandemic.
Masks-“do unto others”
I’m not here to debate the use of masks. If you’ve been wearing one, you probably should continue to do so, unless in a setting with others who you can confirm are vaccinated or immune due to natural infection.
Remember, this is a contagious infectious disease spread by direct person to person contact. It’s not just about you, we’re here for each other.
Information and misinformation
There has been much of both in the past year, some deliberate, some well intentioned, some valuable, some just plain wrong. Whenever possible, get your information directly from the source, not “a friend of a friend’s second cousin”. Here are some tips for finding reliable information
In this time of social distancing, the digital world can be a valuable source of connection if used responsibly. Thank you for joining me .
Final comments from the CDC
This is the first set of public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people. This guidance will be updated and expanded based on the level of community spread of SARS-CoV-2, the proportion of the population that is fully vaccinated, and the rapidly evolving science on COVID-19 vaccines.CDC website
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