New COVID Guidelines From The CDC

Dear Rich Lifer,

On Monday, March 8, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines stating that fully vaccinated Americans can have small indoor gatherings without precautions (masks or physical distancing) with other vaccinated people. 

They should continue to wear masks in public. 

The guideline is aimed at people who are fully vaccinated, meaning that at least two weeks have passed since they received the second dose of a two-dose vaccine series of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, or those for whom at least two weeks have passed since receiving a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The agency also stated that fully vaccinated people could visit indoors with unvaccinated people — as long as no one is at risk for serious illness — from one household. This offers incredibly exciting and long-awaited news for people like grandparents who have been separated from grandchildren for a year.  

If the gathering includes more than one household, it should be moved to an outdoor setting, according to the CDC. 

This new recommendation comes while state officials are moving to reopen businesses and schools and cases and deaths seem to drop. However, federal health officials continue to warn against removing restrictions, like mask mandates, too quickly, fearing the result will be another surge of infections and deaths. 

Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the C.D.C., states: 

We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love. There are some activities that fully vaccinated people can begin to resume now in the privacy of their own homes.

This advice does still leave room for amendments if new data becomes available. The CDC also did not rule out the possibility of fully vaccinated individuals developing asymptomatic infections that could spread inadvertently to others.   

Dr. Walensky added, “Everyone, including those who are vaccinated, should continue with all mitigation strategies when in public settings.” 

CDC officials continue to encourage Americans to get vaccinated with whichever shot is available to them. They emphasize that the vaccines are incredibly effective when it comes to preventing “serious Covid-19 illness, hospitalization and death” and go on to remark that this guidance “represents a first step toward returning to everyday activities in our communities.” 

The Exact CDC Guidelines 

Exactly what is safe for vaccinated people is slightly uncertain because scientists still do not understand how and if immunized people may still transmit the virus, how well the vaccine prevents variants, and how long vaccine protection lasts. 

For all these reasons, masking and other precautions are still necessary to contain the virus in certain settings such as public spaces or indoor gatherings with unvaccinated people. 

Here are exact quotes from the CDC’s website about these new guidelines: 

If you’ve been fully vaccinated: 

  • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
  • However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

However, here are the guidelines that stay the same, even if you’re fully vaccinated:

  • You should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Take these precautions whenever you are:
  • In public
  • Gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household
  • Visiting with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 or who lives with a person at increased risk
  • You should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings.
  • You should still delay domestic and international travel. If you do travel, you’ll still need to follow CDC requirements and recommendations.
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace.

How Vaccination is Going 

As of Sunday, about 58.9 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. 30.7 million people of those people have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. 

CDC data shows that more than 17% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and just over 9% of the population has gotten two shots.

Providers are administering about 2.16 million doses per day on average.

President Biden has promised to administer 100 million vaccines by his 100th day in office and recently remarked that the U.S. would have enough Covid-19 vaccines for all American adults by the end of May. 

Experts have estimated that 70 to 90 percent of the population needs to acquire resistance to the coronavirus to reach herd immunity — when transmission of the virus significantly slows because enough people have been protected through either infection or vaccination.

It is currently undetermined how long it will take for the population to reach this percentage, especially when you factor in vaccinated people joining those who may be immune because of past coronavirus infections. 

The continued presence of Covid variants could complicate this process. 

This chart from the CDC projects an indication of when the virus’s spread could start to slow down, based on the current rate of vaccination of people with at least one shot. 

Click here to learn more

Basically, if America continues vaccinations at its current pace, about half of the population could be vaccinated by late May, and almost everyone could be vaccinated by early September, assuming the supply of the vaccine continues as promised and children can be vaccinated.

In what has been such a long, heartbreaking and difficult year, we hope all Americans can take these guidelines as a hopeful step in the right direction and continue to keep each other safe.

To a Richer Life,

The Rich Life Roadmap Team 

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