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CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Amr Alfiky-Pool/Getty Images

Fully vaccinated people can venture outdoors without masks, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued Tuesday.

The big picture: The guidelines come as more than nearly 29% of people in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated and more than 42% have received at least one dose.

  • 15 governors so far have let their state orders requiring people to wear face coverings in public expire, according to U.S. News. Many cities and local jurisdictions have also begun to increase capacity at restaurants and businesses.

Details: The guidance applies to fully vaccinated individuals, which health officials classify as two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Vaccinated people can unmask while:

  • Doing physical activities outdoors alone or with members of your household like walking, running, hiking or biking.
  • Attending a small outdoor gathering either with fully vaccinated people or a mixture of vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
  • Dining at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households.
  • Current guidelines on vaccinated people indoors and traveling still apply.

Yes, but: It can be hard to assess every individual's risk for severe COVID-19 in mass public spaces or intimate public settings, the agency says and asks vaccinated people to wear masks in situations like:

  • Crowded outdoor events like live performances, parades or sporting events.
  • Indoor spaces like a barber or hair salon or a movie theater.
  • Attending a full capacity service at a house of worship and singing in an indoor chorus.
  • Visiting an uncrowded indoor shopping mall or museum.

What they're saying: "CDC cannot provide the specific risk level for every activity in every community, so it is important to consider your own personal situation and the risk to you, your family and your community before venturing out without a mask," CDC director Rochelle Walensky said in prepared remarks.

What's next: President Biden will also mention the guidelines in remarks later on Tuesday, according to CNN.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the number of vaccine doses that have been administered.

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Aug 5, 2021 - Health

Why vaccine passports are still just a dream

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several practical and technological hurdles will stand in the way of widespread "vaccine passports."

Why it matters: COVID-19 vaccine mandates are quickly gaining steam, reviving interest in an easy, electronic way for people to verify that they're vaccinated. But that technology in some cases is still far from perfected, and some experts question how much it could really accomplish.

Biden and DeSantis snipe over Florida's COVID response

President Biden and Gov. Ron DeSantis talk about the collapse of the condo building in Surfside, during a briefing in early July. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

During a week when Florida has seen COVID cases and hospitalizations break records, Gov. Ron DeSantis blamed the spike on a "seasonal pattern" and "media hysteria."

  • His latest target: President Biden not securing the border with Mexico.

State of play: At a press conference in Panama City yesterday, DeSantis claimed that Biden is "facilitating" the virus by allowing "hundreds of thousands of people pouring across [the U.S.-Mexico border] every month."

Aug 5, 2021 - Health

Booster shots for the immunocompromised likely coming soon

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is actively working toward making a recommendation that certain immunocompromised people receive an additional dose of coronavirus vaccine, two sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Two shots of Pfizer and Moderna's mRNA vaccines don't generate strong levels of protection in some immunocompromised people. But data suggests a third shot could significantly boost their response.