Covid News: CDC relaxes mask guidelines for most outdoor activities at summer camps

Prior to Memorial Day a year ago, many officials in the United States had canceled parades and banned overcrowded gatherings. The country was on the verge of recording 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

This year, parades and barbecues are scheduled to take place across the country and those vaccinated are invited to come out and enjoy the holidays. As the national economy picks up steam, concerns about soaring gas prices, sold-out hotels and lifeguard shortages could eclipse fears related to the virus.

“A year ago, we were at the end of the start of the pandemic in the United States, and now we are sort of at the beginning of the end,” said Dr. Dan Diekema, epidemiologist at the University of the United States. ‘Iowa.

Hundreds of people still die every day, pushing the death toll in the United States to more than 592,000 – a huge toll few people envisioned a year ago. But vaccinations over the past six months have been a game-changer in the fight against Covid-19, even as challenges remain to reach those who have not been vaccinated and the nation may never achieve collective immunity .

About 62% of people aged 18 and over received at least one injection; President Biden has set a goal of reaching 70% of adults by July 4. New cases have plunged 40% or more in many states across the country. The daily death rate is at its lowest level since last summer.

“If you are vaccinated, you are protected and you can enjoy your Memorial Day,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said at a White House press conference this morning. week. “If you are not vaccinated, our advice has not changed for you. You remain at risk of infection. You should always mask yourself and take other precautions.

After the CDC changed its guidance this month to say that fully vaccinated people can remove their masks in most situations, state after state has moved to ease restrictions or eliminate them altogether.

California, the most populous US state, has announced plans to lift capacity limits and social distancing restrictions while requiring indoor masks for the time being. At the same time, other states are moving forward with plans to reopen.

The governor of Missouri, a Republican, reopened all remaining businesses this month and ordered all state employees to return to their offices for in-person work. Texas has gone even further, banning public schools and local governments from requiring masks.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, also a Republican, has also banned mask warrants in state office buildings.

“If someone wants to wear a mask, it is their personal choice,” he said.

As political leaders adopt policies to get back to normal, vaccines widen a chasm between the United States – where vaccines are widely available and doses are offered to children – and other countries, such as Brazil and India, where the virus is still raging and vaccines are scarce.

There are also reminders around the United States that the pandemic, and partisan positioning around the crisis, remains far from over. The pace of vaccinations has declined sharply since mid-April, with providers administering about 1.7 million doses per day on average, down about 50% from the peak of 3.38 million reported on April 13. As the Biden administration shifted its vaccination strategy to More Local, Personalized Efforts, states are trying different tactics, including offering $ 1 million vaccine lottery prizes and other incentives.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York has ordered flags to be hoisted mid-length in remembrance of frontline workers who died during the pandemic, only for a senior Republican leader in the state Senate to demand an apology from the governor for such a move at a party in honor of the soldiers.

A year ago, President Donald J. Trump mocked Mr. Biden for appearing in public with a face mask. Some states that decided to reopen early, such as Arizona, Florida and Texas, came under fire with an increase in the number of cases weeks later.

Dr Diekema, the Iowa epidemiologist, said he hoped the resurgence of the virus last summer would serve as a risk reminder for unvaccinated people.

He said he couldn’t imagine a year ago that more than half a million people in the United States would die from the virus. And the toll continues to mount: Over the holiday weekend, Dr Diekema said he plans to work.

“I will be in the hospital to see patients with infectious diseases like Covid-19,” he said.

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