President Joe Biden will reportedly announce new outdoor mask guidance for fully-vaccinated individuals in a speech Tuesday, according to CNN.
While the exact change to the guidance is unknown, recent evidence has shown that people face little risk of spreading coronavirus while outdoors, CNN reported. The current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines recommend vaccinated individuals to continue wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds and staying away from public places.
“I think it’s pretty common sense now that outdoor risk is really, really quite low, particularly – I mean, if you are a vaccinated person, wearing a mask outdoors, I mean, obviously, the risk is minuscule,” Anthony Fauci, Biden’s top coronavirus adviser, told ABC News on Sunday.
“What the country is going to be hearing soon is updated guidelines from the CDC,” Fauci said. “The CDC is a science-based organization. They don’t want to make any guidelines unless they look at the data, and the data backs it up.”
Evidence showing that masks are unnecessary outdoors has continued to pile up, according to The New York Times. Even if a person sneezes near another person while walking outdoors, transmission risk remains low, Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, told the NYT.
New England Journal of Medicine contributing editor Dr. Paul Sax suggested that masks aren’t needed for most outdoor activities in an April 19 blog post. Sax characterized most outdoor mask wearing as “performative.”
But, Biden’s executive order requiring mask wearing on all federal property including national parks remains in place while top health officials have continued to push strict guidance. Fauci recently explained that the government would continue to recommend vaccinated individuals wear masks because of new virus variants.
“The point I’m saying is that there are variants now circulating,” Fauci said during a March Senate hearing.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have proven to be very effective in combating multiple variants.