States Allow Mask-less Travel, Europe Moves Further to Reopening
17 May 2021 · 3rd Party Analysis
- US states lift mask mandates after CDC guidance
- Europe looks to reopen the economy as cases recede
Increasing vaccinations, declining new cases, and encouraging results from vaccination campaigns across the states have prompted US federal health officials to end the mandatory mask mandate and distancing recommendations for the fully vaccinated.
The guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that people considered fully vaccinated are those who have waited for at least two weeks after they have been given a second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Additionally, those who have received the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and have also waited for two weeks to pass are also considered fully vaccinated.
“If you’re fully vaccinated, you can now go mask-less in most settings,” President Biden affirmed in a Twitter post on Saturday. “But remember: it’s going to take time for everyone who wants to get vaccinated to get their shots, and some vaccinated people prefer masks. So please, if you see someone with a mask, treat them with kindness.”
Some states, however, are expected to keep their requirements for wearing masks in public spaces, because there is no easy way to determine who is fully vaccinated. This could make social interaction in public settings like stores or workplaces especially difficult.
Hope on the Horizon for the US Economy
In recent weeks, the coronavirus confirmed cases in the US have dropped significantly, lifting hopes that the economic reopening could happen immediately and communities and businesses could step forward to live their lives the way they were before the pandemic.
As of today, nearly 60% of all American adults have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to data from the CDC. US health officials have been administering at least 1.9 million doses per day for the past seven days. The US now has given the first vaccine shot to nearly 157 million people, or 47.4% of the total population.
Meanwhile, in Europe, the biggest European countries are easing coronavirus restrictions in anticipation that the vaccine rollouts will accelerate the return to a pre-pandemic way of life. Some health experts, however, worry that a premature lifting of lockdown measures could jeopardize the progress.
Germany eased its lockdown and introduced certain privileges for the vaccinated, Spain rolled back some of the imposed restrictions. France lifted its travel ban and is now into its second of four stages of a plan to exit the lockdown before the summer. And yesterday, Italy lifted its quarantine rules for arrival from the EU, the UK, and Israel in efforts to boost the tourist season. People arriving from these places will no longer be subject to quarantine if they’ve had a negative Covid test.
Around 30% of Europeans have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, twice the level a month ago, but still lagging behind the UK, the US, and Israel. Health professionals are worried that the relatively low rate of vaccinated people in Europe may not be enough to sustain the upside momentum in the vaccine program. In addition, there are also concerns that while European countries move to reopen their
economies, a spike in cases would be seen around two weeks later, since that is how long it takes for rule changes to show up in infection data.