New COVID-19 Regulations


Nathan Kim

On May 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and President Joe Biden announced that fully vaccinated Americans can now resume public activities without wearing masks or social distancing. With all 50 states having doses of the vaccine, the amount of people being vaccinated has shot up and more and more people are receiving them. The CDC has also approved the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents aged 12 through 15. The Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines have not been approved for those aged younger.

The new regulations state that if you are fully vaccinated you can “resume activities that you did before the pandemic…You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance…Also, if you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.” Being fully vaccinated is when you have received the correct number of doses (2 doses for Moderna and Pfizer, 1 dose for Johnson and Johnson), and have waited for the proper amount of time afterward for immunity to be maximized. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their final dose.

Some exceptions to these new guidelines are that traveling outside the United States still requires a negative result or proof of recovery. The CDC also recommends testing for COVID-19 three to five days after international travel for safety purposes. Many of these new regulations allow for businesses and other private organizations to still enforce mask mandates and social distancing.

How do these new regulations affect the United States? First off, this is proof that the pandemic, even if slightly, is getting better and the hope to return to normalcy has elevated. These new regulations also tie in with Biden’s plan to combat COVID-19. He has already stated that he and his administration will eliminate the cost of COVID-19 related operations, pursue to help those deeply affected by the pandemic, and get vaccines into every American. The latest regulations just help to get closer to their goals. Secondly, the new mask guidelines will usher us back into in-person education. Students already have the choice to attend school, but the effectiveness of the vaccines shows that we are another step closer to getting back in school.

The determination around removal of masks did, however, shock many health officials around the world. They displayed their disbelief explaining that the removal was too early, or it wasn’t cautious enough. The CDC has stated that their approach was scientific, and supported by the latest available data.

If you are not vaccinated, however, the CDC strongly recommends continuing the normal social distancing and mask-wearing practices. Those who are not vaccinated are still at risk of catching the virus and are also still vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 and can still spread it. The CDC urges people to be mindful and careful when stepping out of the house.