The Moneyist: No, you aren’t loopy. Sure, the rules for CDC masks are complicated. Do you have to cease carrying a masks in public or not?

Wear a mask. Don't wear a mask. Make one. Buy one. Wear it outdoors. Wear it indoors.

Confused? You're not alone.

So what about the CDC's new guidelines? "Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large and small, without wearing a mask or physically distancing themselves," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Thursday. "When you are fully vaccinated, you can do the things you stopped doing because of the pandemic."

Vaccines have helped slow the spread of the coronavirus, and this seems like a natural next step for Americans who are tired of masking themselves. "We have all longed for that moment when we can return to a sense of normalcy," said Walensky.

We are still far from normal. You can remove your mask "unless required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidelines," according to the CDC. You still need a mask on buses and trains, in museums and most stores, possibly at your work place but not in restaurants unless you go to the bathroom.

How do you know a maskless person is vaccinated? It's an honor system. The CDC guidelines give people less reason to stick to that old American Express slogan: "Don't go out without him." People leave their homes without a mask, even in states where everyone – vaccinated or not – is still required to wear them outdoors in public spaces, including on the streets of New York.

Many people are fed up with what it seems. No wonder: The CDC's announcement surprised many health professionals: According to a survey by the New York Times, 29% of epidemiologists surveyed believed that people would wear masks in public places for at least another year, while 26% believed that people would For another year, 26% said mask wearing would continue in some form from now on.

"You still need a mask on buses and trains, in museums and most stores, possibly at work but not in restaurants, except when you go to the bathroom."

The CDC mask policy change has come a little more than a year since the CDC said everyone should wear masks. In April 2020, the Trump administration and CDC reversed their face mask guidelines, saying that all Americans should wear cloth face covers rather than just medical workers as officials previously said. Trump cited "recent studies" while the CDC cited "new evidence".

Fast forward to Thursday. "I think it's a great milestone, a great day. It was made possible by the tremendous success we have had in vaccinating so many Americans quickly," said a maskless President Joe Biden in the White House rose garden, citing the vaccines by Johnson & Johnson
+ 0.15%
and Moderna
+ 7.68%.

"It will take a little longer for everyone who wants to be vaccinated to take their pictures. So let's all be patient with each other," said the president.

Forgive the public for being tired of mask rules. We have been on quite a journey. Studies earlier in the pandemic suggested that adopting mask-wearing, which was already accepted in many Asian cultures, would have saved tens of thousands of lives. Many Americans were understandably frustrated, but also eager to do whatever they could to stop the virus.

"So what about the CDC's new guidelines?"

MarketWatch illustration

Flashback: Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a briefing on January 30th last year: “The virus is not spreading to the general community. We do not routinely recommend the use of face masks by the public to prevent respiratory disease. And we certainly don't recommend that for this new virus right now. "

Three months later, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, ordered all New Yorkers to publicly cover their faces if they could not maintain adequate social distance. "You are walking down the street alone? Big! You are now at an intersection and there are people at the intersection and you are near other people? Put the mask on."

These are only guidelines from the CDC. It is up to states to decide what to do next. New Jersey and New York continue to maintain their mask guidelines in public spaces. "

The CDC's latest mask announcements are guidelines only. It is up to states to decide what to do next. And that's a whole different story. New Jersey and New York continue to maintain their mask guidelines in public spaces. Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, is reviewing the guidelines, a spokeswoman for his office said in a statement. Like many governors, Murphy wears a mask on his Twitter profile. Maybe that tells us everything we need to know.

About half of the US states have a mask mandate. Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Nebraska and Texas, among others, had already canceled their statewide mask mandates in public spaces and / or did not introduce any. Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis said Thursday he would show mercy to gym owners who broke the mask mandate.

Greg Abbott, a Republican from Texas, officially ended his state's face mask mandate in March, allowing businesses to reopen despite opposition from rival lawmakers and healthcare professionals at the time. Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, described the move as "extremely dangerous" and said it would "kill Texans".

Cuomo, perhaps still wavering from that time last year when New York was the epicenter of the U.S. pandemic, was instrumental in maintaining current politics. Keep your masks on. "In New York, we have always relied on the facts and science to guide us through the worst of this pandemic and our successful reopening," he said in a statement.

"People take off their masks to make phone calls on the street in states that require wearing them in public places and take them off while they sit and eat outside."

Vermont Republican Phil Scott, a Republican, said his state will follow CDC guidelines. "Later today we will update Vermont's mask mandate in accordance with updated guidance from the CDC announced yesterday," he tweeted Friday. "This means that those who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to wear masks – indoors or outdoors – or deal with physical distancing."

In Nevada, Democrat Governor Steve Sisolak said the state had updated its own mask wearing guidelines to follow CDC guidelines effective immediately. Nevada Health Response added, “COVID-19 is still a major threat in our state and many Nevadans may choose to continue using masks based on their families' personal health issues. Others should respect that choice. "

This statement, perhaps more than any other, shows the tension, fear, and frustration not only with state laws and changing policies, but also with one another. People take their masks off to make phone calls on the street in states that require wearing them in public places and take them off while they sit and eat outside. Most people do their best.

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said people should still wear masks in public places for now, but likely not after June 15, when the state fully reopens. "Only in these massively large environments where people all over the world, not just across the country, congregate and where people mingle in very tight spaces," Newsom told KTTV.

"Otherwise we give guidelines, recommendations, but no mandates and no restrictions for large and small companies." Is it all crystal clear? I leave that to you.

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