The CDC announced Thursday that fully vaccinated people can safely stop wearing masks indoors.
Dr Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, said data now showed the "real world effectiveness of the vaccines".
The new guidance comes as the aggressive USA vaccination campaign begins to pay off. US virus cases are at their lowest rate since September, deaths are at their lowest point since last April and the test positivity rate is at the lowest point since the pandemic began.
Yes, fully vaccinated people really don't need to wear a mask outside anymore except for in "very unusual" situations, Dr. Anthony Fauci says.
The new indoor masking guidance follows a CDC announcement two weeks ago that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask when they're outdoors unless they're in a crowd, such as attending a live performance, sporting event or parade.
Spokeswoman Caitlin Shockey said the revision was made to "align with the CDC's current guidance for fully vaccinated people".
Passengers are also told not to wear masks when doing anything that might get them wet, like swimming; instead, the CDC says it is "particularly important" for people to keep at least six feet of distance from anyone who isn't part of their traveling group. While this may serve as an incentive for some people to get vaccinated, that is not the goal.
As for unvaccinated people, Walensky said they remain at risk of falling ill with COVID-19 or spreading the virus to others. Walensky encouraged people who have weak immune systems, such as from organ transplants or cancer treatment, to talk with their doctors before shedding their masks. "Whether you choose to get vaccinated or wear a mask, please protect yourself until we get to the finish line", the White House wrote on Twitter announcing the news.