Masks and outdoor still the best way to make holiday gatherings safe, says CDC

Outside and well ventilated sites still better than being indoors, officials advise

Gino Spocchia
Monday 18 October 2021 17:03

US to lift travel restrictions for fully vaccinated visitors next month, White House announces

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Americans should wear masks and consider celebrating Thanksgiving outside this year, federal officials have advised, amid calls for more people to take both vaccine doses ahead of the holiday.

The annual November holiday is the first since the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last year called on Americans to stay indoors, and at home, for Thanksgiving.

In an update on Friday, the CDC said Americans should follow a number of guidelines to have a safe Thanksgiving holiday, which included vaccinations for those who are eligible as well as mask wearing.

The agency also advised that being outdoors continued to be the best way to avoid Covid, and that even in areas without high rates of infection, “outdoors is safer than indoors”.

Already, 65.9 per cent of all Americans have been vaccinated against Covid, and according to CDC figures, more than 68 per cent of those above 18 with both doses.

The CDC advises that adults take vaccines to protect those aged below 11 who are not eligible for a vaccine, but are still at risk of being infected and transmitting the virus.

The agency is currently reviewing trial data from Pfizer, along with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for a vaccine for children as young as five-years-old.

That could come before the end of the month and Halloween.

For unvaccinated Americans, the CDC advises that mask wearing and staying outdoors is the safest way to spend time with family and friends this Thanksgiving.

It comes even as infection rates stabilise across the US, and Anthony Fauci last week saying that he was optimistic about deaths also starting to fall, after cases did so.

A recent UK study found that those who do not wear masks indoors were one and a halft times more likely to be infected by Covid, as The Times reported.

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