The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released new guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated.
The guidelines allow fully vaccinated Americans to gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying six feet apart.
In addition, fully vaccinated Americans can gather or conduct activities outdoors without wearing a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues.
In general, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
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Although several restrictions have loosened for those who have been fully vaccinated, it is still recommended that masks are worn in indoor public settings and when gathering with unvaccinated people.
Large indoor gatherings should still be avoided, and symptoms of COVID-19 should be monitored.
According to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), six-feet distancing can “substantially reduce the risk” of large-drop transmission through coughing and sneezing, but airborne transmission is known “to span a considerable range of scales,” varying from fractions of a micron to mere millimetres.
The MIT study says lighter aerosol droplets can stay suspended in the air for longer and travel farther. In some cases, according to the study, the risk of potential exposure can be the same, from six feet to 60 feet.
The study’s authors found that wearing a face mask has been more effective than lockdowns or physical distancing in controlling the spread of COVID-19.