Biden could change rules about outdoor face masks: report

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — President Biden may relax some federal face mask rules this week.

He may change the guidance around wearing masks outdoors, with potentially different rules for people who are fully vaccinated, according to CNBC.

Ubiquitous use of face masks is one of the major steps the government has advised to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially in the early days of the pandemic when information was limited, resources were scarce and vaccines did not exist.

Since the virus is an airborne disease — meaning it is mostly spread through droplets floating in the air that come from a person breathing, talking, singing, etc. — experts say that masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.

Here’s what the CDC says right now about when masks should be worn:

  • By people 2 years of age and older
  • Any time you are in a public setting
  • Any time you are traveling on a plane, bus, train, or other form of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations
  • When you are around people who do not live with you, including inside your home or inside someone else’s home
  • Inside your home if someone you live with is sick with symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19

The CDC also adds: “Masks may not be necessary when you are outside by yourself away from others, or with people who live in your household. However, some areas may have mask mandates while out in public, so please check the rules in your local area (such as in your city, county, or state). Additionally, check whether any federal mask mandates apply to where you will be going.”

Even if Biden changes up the rules to potentially allow some people to go without masks, they are still subject to local rules as well.

For instance, a city may still enforce continued mask wearing for everyone without the federal government mandating it.

CNBC reports that the guidance could change as early as Tuesday.

In a Meet The Press interview last week, America’s top infectious disease expert and Biden adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said vaccinated people should still wear masks, but: “As we get more information, it’s going to be pulling back that you won’t have to.”

He said people who get vaccinated are “dramatically” diminishing the risk of getting infected with COVID-19, which is why federal officials my be gearing up to loosen the rule.

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