Up until a few days ago, the CDC recommended that fully vaccinated Americans continue to wear masks indoors in all settings and outdoors in large crowds.
But last Thursday, the director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, announced a U-turn on indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated Americans, saying they don't need to wear masks inside in most circumstances.
"Today, CDC is updating our guidance for fully vaccinated people. Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing. If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic."
It's the first time in more than a year that the federal government has encouraged Americans to remove masks.
However, the CDC's new recommendation has created confusion because it does not affect local mask mandates.
States, municipalities and businesses are left to decide whether or not to follow the guidance.
Some states like Illinois, Connecticut, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington are heeding the CDC's advice, lifting their mask mandates.
Others like New Jersey and Hawaii will urge people to continue wearing masks indoors.
White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci reaffirmed the CDC's guidance, saying that while Americans can make their own personal choice in regards to risk aversion, the CDC's recommendation was based on science.
However, the National Nurses United, a large union of registered nurses in the U.S., has slammed the CDC's new guidelines.
It has even called for a revision, claiming it is not based on science, and it threatens the lives of patients, nurses and frontline workers across the U.S.
According to CDC data, as of last Friday, more than 156 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and about 121 million are fully vaccinated.
Lee Eunjin, Arirang News.