WASHINGTON — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is planning to release new guidance directed at those who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
According to Politico and CNN, the guidelines could be released as soon as Thursday, and are expected to center around a small easing of rules for social gatherings at home with other fully vaccinated people, but other recommendations are expected to remain in place.
U.S. officials told the outlets the guidelines are still being finalized but are expected to still recommend fully vaccinated people wear a mask in public and practice social distancing. It's also expected are recommendations on travel and other scenarios where the risk of spreading or being exposed to COVID-19 would be elevated.
During Monday's White House COVID-19 response team briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci offered a preview of the guidance and shared an example about gathering at a family member's home.
“I use the example of a daughter coming in from out of town who is doubly vaccinated, and a husband and wife doubly vaccinated, and maybe a next-door neighbor who you know are doubly vaccinated,” Dr. Fauci described. “Small gatherings in the homes of people, I think you can clearly feel that the risk — the relative risk is so low that you would not have to wear a mask, that you could have a good social gathering within the home.”
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who was also at the press conference, warned that the emergence of new virus variants could threaten what we've accomplished so far.
“I want to really keep our eye on the fact that ... cases are increasing right now, slightly," Walensky said. "The goal is not to sort of open up travel, open up all things because … we're scaling up vaccination. The goal in those first 100 days has always been to sort of make sure that we are in a place to be out of this pandemic.”
President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the U.S. expects to be on track to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccines for all adults in the country by the end of May — two months earlier than recently anticipated.
The president is also pushing states to get at least one shot into the arms of teachers by the end of March to hasten school re-openings. Biden has also announced that drugmaker Merck will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved one-shot vaccine.
Despite the stepped-up pace of vaccine production, the work of inoculating Americans could extend well into the summer. It depends on both the government’s capacity to deliver doses and Americans’ willingness to roll up their sleeves.
The Associated Press Contributed to this story.