Biden announces CDC's new mask guidance. Can it stop the right-wing outrage cycle?

The new guidance comes hours after Tucker Carlson instructed his Fox News audience to confront people wearing masks

By Molly Wilcox
April 27, 2021 8:47PM (UTC)
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U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a virtual event hosted by the Munich Security Conference in the East Room of the White House on February 19, 2021 in Washington, DC. In his remarks, President Biden stressed the United States' commitment to NATO after four years of the Trump administration undermining the alliance. (Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated guidelines for activities that vaccinated people can now enjoy, including attending small outdoor gatherings without having to wear a mask, hours after Tucker Carlson instructed his Fox News audience to confront people wearing masks in public. 

The amended 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. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky spoke during a briefing by the Biden administration. "Today is another day we can take a step back to the normalcy of before," she said. "Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time telling Americans what they cannot do, what they should not do. Today, I'm going to tell you some of the things you can do if you are fully vaccinated."


As the new guidelines state, fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Visit with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues
  • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States.
  • Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
  • Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
  • Refrain from routine screening testing if asymptomatic and feasible

The guidelines state that fully vaccinated people can attend outdoor events, like live music, sporting events, or parades, as long as they wear well-fitting masks.

Being that there are still roughly 50,000 new COVID-19 cases per day, Walensky urged fully vaccinated people to continue to wear masks while indoors to prevent the spread. She said fully vaccinated individuals should wear masks in public spaces, when gathering indoors with unvaccinated people, when with unvaccinated high-risk individuals, or in an outdoor setting where masks are required.


"Generally, for vaccinated people, outdoor activities without a mask are safe. However, we continue to recommend masking in crowded outdoor settings and venues, such as packed stadiums and concerts where there is decreased ability to maintain physical distance and where many unvaccinated people may also be present," Walensky said. "We will continue to recommend this until widespread vaccination is achieved."

President Joe Biden continues to wear a mask inside in order to send a message to stay vigilant while indoors. Meanwhile, Fox News remains hostile to the personal protective equipment, with the network's top-rated host telling his viewers on Monday night to "call the police immediately" and "contact child protective services" if they come in contact with a child wearing a mask. 


Molly Wilcox

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