Health officials are recommending lifting most COVID-19 restrictions for people who are fully vaccinated.That means no more masks or social distancing, indoors or outdoors, according to updated guidance from the U.S. FILE – Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 18, 2021.For now, masks are still required on planes, trains and buses. Walensky said the CDC would be updating travel guidance soon, as well as recommendations for schools, camps and other settings.Walensky left it up to local leaders to decide whether businesses and other gathering places should continue to require masks. The number of cases and the number of people vaccinated in an area should guide the choice, she said.Experts said the announcement was mostly good news.”The science on this is pretty clear. Vaccinated people rarely get sick and don’t do much transmitting,” Brown University School of Public Health Dean Ashish Jha wrote on Twitter.This is realAnd its correctAnd its goodThe science on this is pretty clear. Vaccinated people rarely get sick and don’t do much transmittingCDC to announce that fully vaccinated folks no longer need to mask up or physically distance in most circumstancesGet the shot Thomas Lo, 15, receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the coronavirus disease at Northwell Health’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, May 13, 2021.Walensky also noted that new research published in the past couple of weeks has shown how effective the vaccines are in the real world, not just in controlled clinical trials, and how they even prevent infection with the variants circulating in the United States. And in the rare cases in which vaccinated people still get infected, their infections are milder and are less likely to spread to others than infections in unvaccinated people.The announcement comes as vaccination rates are dropping in the United States. Just under 2 million doses a day are being administered on average, down from more than 3 million in mid-April.For those still facing barriers to access, health officials are stepping up efforts to make getting vaccinated easier, including delivering doses to more than 20,000 local pharmacies and offering free rides to vaccination sites through ride-sharing companies.For those hesitant or skeptical about getting the vaccine, the CDC is working with “trusted messengers” to spread the word and deliver shots, including local doctors and places of worship.Walensky encouraged everyone to get vaccinated.”Your health and how soon you return to normal life … are in your very capable hands,” she said.

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