And now the lessening of pandemic restrictions begins, admittedly cautiously.
We’ll take it. Happily.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has issued new guidelines for fully vaccinated people in private settings, giving the OK for them to start gathering with others who are also fully vaccinated or unvaccinated and at low risk of severe COVID-19 disease.
“This is a great first step in returning to our normal lives,” said Dr. Eugene Curley, WellSpan infectious disease physician. “As more people become vaccinated, we can begin to think about safely gathering with loved ones and friends again. I personally cannot wait to be able to see my extended family!”
The CDC guidelines are for fully vaccinated people who are not in healthcare settings, or those who are two weeks past their second vaccine of the two-dose vaccine or two weeks past the single-dose vaccine. Those folks:
- Can gather indoors, without wearing a mask, with other fully vaccinated people.
- Can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household, without wearing masks, unless anyone from that household is at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Do not need to be tested or quarantined, even after being exposed to someone with COVID-19, unless they have symptoms.
What hasn’t changed for fully vaccinated people: they still need to wear a mask, avoid crowds and wash their hands when in public or when gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household. The CDC also still recommends avoiding medium- or large-size gatherings and delaying domestic and international travel. Any fully vaccinated person experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and get tested. Finally, it is important to continue following guidance at your workplace.
“COVID-19 is still in our communities,” Curley said. “We need to continue to exercise some caution until a greater number of people are able to be vaccinated. But this is still a reason to celebrate.”
The CDC emphasizes, “Though the risk of disease may be minimal to the fully vaccinated person themselves, they should be mindful of their potential risk of transmitting the virus to others if they become infected, especially if they are visiting with unvaccinated people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or who have unvaccinated people at increased risk for severe disease in their own households.”