The Biden administration is expected to ease the public health guidance on wearing masks outdoors this week, according to CNBC.
The new guidance could provide separate instructions for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. This past weekend, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that new mask guidance was coming but encouraged Americans to continue to follow health measures until the CDC releases full guidance.
“What I believe you’re going to be hearing, what the country is going to be hearing soon, is updated guidelines from the CDC,” Fauci said “The CDC is a science-based organization. They don’t want to make any guidelines unless they look at the data and the data backs it up.”
“But when you look around at the common sense situation, the risk is really low, especially if you’re vaccinated,” he said.
The CDC guidance currently states that “masks may not be necessary when you are outside by yourself away from others, or with people who live in your household.” Adding: “However, some areas may have mask mandates while out in public, so please check the rules in your local area (such as in your city, county, or state). Additionally, check whether any federal mask mandates apply to where you will be going.”
Other infectious disease experts chimed in to voice their support of lifting outdoor mask mandates. Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto, stated that data is showing few COVID-19 infections happen in outdoor settings. However, he reaffirmed that mask mandates should remain for indoor settings until most of the population is vaccinated.
“It’s been over a year. We have a very good understanding of who gets infected and how they get infected,” Bogoch said. “I think it’s fair to say you don’t need to wear a mask outside unless you can’t maintain 2 meters or 6 feet of social distancing.”