The new recommendation, which carves out exceptions for buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, will have significant implications for schools and businesses as the country begins to reopen.
The announcement comes after Walensky faced criticism for the CDC being too slow to provide a path back to normalcy for fully vaccinated people, over 117 million of whom are in the U.S. Walensky has defended the CDC's approach as scientifically-based to ensure protection not just for individuals but also the entire U.S. population.
In a seemingly prescient moment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi removed her mask in public for the first time in months on Thursday during her weekly Capitol Hill press conference.
But a growing public health consensus that the vaccines are performing well against the variants commonly found in the USA and in curbing transmission suggested that the CDC could go further.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview that Americans should toss out their outdoor face masks, even if some people might disapprove. But that data was gathered while guidelines recommended masks were still in place, so how the virus could spread among vaccinated, unmasked people indoors remains unknown.
"CBS This Morning" anchor Gayle King revealed Thursday she receives judgmental looks and "side-eye" for not wearing a mask outdoors in NY. The CDC is expected to say on Thursday that people can stop wearing masks indoors. He added that it doesn't promote vaccinations to tell people to "get vaccinated but do the same thing".
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'I always considered the CDC to be the gold standard.
Walensky said at an April 27 briefing at the White House that "less than 10 percent of documented transmission, in many studies, have occurred outdoors", a statement that could be seen as both true and misleading.
'I used to have the utmost respect for the guidance from the CDC. "I don't anymore", Sen.
CDC data demonstrates that children in grades K-12 are at low risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Why does this matter?' Collins continued. Collins said. "It matters because it undermines public confidence in your recommendation, in the recommendations that do make sense, in the recommendations that Americans should be following".
During a virtual meeting Tuesday on vaccinations with a bipartisan group of governors, President Joe Biden appeared to acknowledge that his administration had to do more to model the benefits of vaccination.
She and other experts foresee that masking will continue to be a personal choice and may still be wise for elderly people who have comorbidities. They urged those who are immune-compromised to speak with their doctors before giving up their masks.
'I recognize some parents want to see how it goes, but I am encouraging all children to be vaccinated, ' she said during the hearing.