The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “Safer Activities” chart, which categorizes high-risk and low-risk activities for unvaccinated and vaccinated people, has fully vaccinated individuals wearing a mask for most activities, giving them little to no edge over the unvaccinated population in terms of masking.
The CDC released updated guidance on Tuesday for fully vaccinated individuals, as roughly 29 percent of the U.S. population is now considered “fully vaccinated.” Despite that status, the CDC is not recommending those individuals to revert to a state of pre-pandemic normalcy, urging them to continue to wear masks in certain social settings — such as visiting with members of more than one household — and to avoid large gatherings.
The U.S. health agency released a chart titled “Choosing Safer Activities” to demonstrate the difference in risk between vaccinated people and unvaccinated people engaging in certain activities. Activities include visiting a hair salon, going to an uncrowded, indoor shopping center, riding on public transport, and more.
The chart shows vaccinated individuals getting the green light for all activities, both indoor and outdoor. However, only four activities, according to the graphic, should not include a mask. These include walking, running, or biking with members of your own household, attending a small, outdoor gathering with “fully vaccinated” family or friends, attending a small, outdoor gathering with both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, and dining at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households. For all other activities, the figurehead representing the fully vaccinated person has a mask over their face.
Safe activities for fully vaccinated people requiring a mask include attending a “crowded, outdoor event,” visiting a hair salon, attending a small, indoor gathering full of both vaccinated and unvaccinated people from multiple households, attending a full-capacity worship service, eating at an indoor restaurant or bar, and participating in an indoor, high-intensity exercise class.
While the chart categorizes most of these basic activities as either “less safe” or “least safe” for unvaccinated people, fully vaccinated people do not appear to have a significant edge in terms of forgoing a mask.
The CDC’s April 27th guidance reinforces many of these suggestions, urging fully vaccinated people to wear a “well-fitted mask” in certain social settings.
U.S. health officials have yet to say when Americans will no longer be expected to wear a mask in most social settings. President Biden has also failed to say when masks will be a thing of the past despite his original call for “just” 100 days of masking.