Fully vaccinated Americans may soon be able to socialize without masks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is finalizing its first set of recommendations as the number of vaccines administered passes 80 million.
"I use the example of a daughter coming in from out of town who is doubly vaccinated, and a husband and wife doubly vaccinated and maybe a next-door neighbor who is doubly vaccinated. Small gatherings in the home, the relative risk is so low that you would not have to wear a mask that you could have a good social gathering within the home," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. top expert on infectious diseases, during a briefing on Monday.
A full return to normal is unlikely right away. The CDC is expected to recommend fully vaccinated people still wear masks and socially distance in public spaces out of caution they may still transmit the virus.
New cases and hospitalizations have declined steadily since January, but this week CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned the drop might be stalling. She urged Americans not to travel.
It’s unclear what the travel guidance might be for the 27 million Americans, now fully vaccinated.
"Please hear me clearly, at this level of cases with variants spreading we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained," Dr. Walensky told reporters on Monday.
According to the CDC, the U.S. current 7-day average for new COVID cases is plateauing at around 60,000 a day, the lowest since October.
And there may be some changes coming for teenagers and children, too. Pfizer's vaccine is already cleared for use in teens age 16 and older. And both Pfizer and Moderna are now running clinical trials to test vaccines on children age 12 and older. They expect to release that data this summer.