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Rochelle P. Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in D.C. in April. On April 27, she announced updated CDC guidance that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks outside. Photo: Tom Williams-CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

If it wasn't already clear that federal health officials really think you should get a coronavirus vaccine, yesterday's guidelines about outdoor mask-wearing should help.

Why it matters: The new guidance — which says vaccinated people can go maskless in many outdoor settings — changes little in practical terms. But experts hope it could help convince folks on the fence to get immunized, particularly since vaccination rates have fallen in recent weeks.

What they're saying: "I think the general guidance is to ensure that people start getting vaccinated," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said.

What we’re hearing: "This is laying the foundation for, 'This is where we could go if we’re able to get everyone on board and vaccinated,'" Amanda Castel, an epidemiology professor at George Washington University, told Axios.

  • Cardiologist Eric Topol, who is the director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, also saw the announcement as a nudge.
  • "How do we get back momentum to get to 4.0 million/day? Keep rolling out incentives like today," Topol tweeted.

The impact: Already, officials in states around the country with mask mandates, such as California Gov. Gavin Newsom, responded to the announcement saying they’d align with the CDC.

  • "It certainly changes things," Dan Gilman, chief of staff to Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto told news station WPXI about calculations for events like Fourth of July celebrations.

The bottom line: Officials are pushing to get vaccinations back on track, after hitting a peak in early April.

  • "If we can get 3 million people a day vaccinated, then literally within a period of a few weeks, we're going to start to see a turning around of the dynamics," Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infection disease told Axios' Sam Baker during an event on Monday.

Go deeper

Graham says he urged Trump "to be aggressive" about COVID vaccine

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who recently tested positive for COVID-19, told AP on Thursday that he's urged former President Trump "to be aggressive and say, 'Take the vaccine'" to increase vaccination rates.

The big picture: Some Republicans have pushed Trump, who was vaccinated in January, to become more vocal in pushing his supporters to get the vaccine.

Updated Aug 6, 2021 - Technology

CNN fires 3 staffers for coming into office unvaccinated

CNN president Jeff Zucker. Photo: J. Countess/Getty Images

CNN president Jeff Zucker told staff Thursday that the network fired three staff members who came to work without getting vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a memo first obtained by the New York Times.

Driving the news: Zucker said in the memo also shared with Axios that CNN had a "zero-tolerance policy" on coronavirus vaccinations and noted that employees showing proof of having had the vaccine may soon become part of the process of entering network buildings.

Updated Aug 6, 2021 - Economy & Business

Facebook joins growing list of companies delaying plans to reopen offices

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

As the contagious Delta variant continues to reach across the United States, more and more companies are delaying plans to reopen offices.

By the numbers: A recent survey of 1,000 HR professionals by the Society for Human Resource Management and Lucid found that half of U.S. organizations are worried about Delta. Some corporate players have started mandating vaccines for employees in an attempt to combat the variant.