If you’re fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask in most situations inside or outside. That’s the new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which surprised regular folks and public health experts alike with the announcement last Thursday. Michigan followed suit, lifting the mask requirement for fully vaccinated people and said unvaccinated people do not need to wear one outdoors.
“When you look around the community or an environment — shopping, restaurant, wherever you are — you can’t assume that everyone is vaccinated.” —Dr. Paul Kilgore, Wayne State University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
The CDC notes people should continue to follow regulations from local governments and private entities. While some public health experts say the CDC is making the right decision, others are concerned that relaxing guidance is premature at this stage of the pandemic.
Listen: Wayne State medical researcher Dr. Paul Kilgore breaks down the CDC’s new mask guidance.
Kilgore cites Michigan’s current vaccination numbers. He says about 50% of the population has had at least one dose of a vaccine, and 42% are fully vaccinated. “When you look around the community or an environment — shopping, restaurant, wherever you are — you can’t assume that everyone is vaccinated,” says Kilgore.
He says he has not changed his personal behaviors despite the new CDC guidelines. “Personally, I’m wearing a mask still inside the gym or if I go out shopping or to a restaurant, a grocery store, that kind of thing,” he says.
Kilgore also recommends people who are either immunocompromised or around people who are immunocompromised should continue wearing masks, even if vaccinated. According to Kilgore, there is not enough data about how well vaccines are working for the immunocompromised. They should also confer with their doctor and ask for their opinion about masks.
The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) guidelines have not yet been updated since the CDC announcement, and their rules still require service workers to wear their masks while on the job.
“They will likely be working with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to basically synergize or harmonize the guidance that comes from CDC and from MIOSHA, but for the time being, restaurant workers on the frontlines definitely should be wearing a mask,” Kilgore says.
Web story written by Dan Netter