The return to normal life is closer – in the United States. This Thursday (13) the American health authorities announced that in almost all circumstances the wearing of masks and respect for social distance are no longer necessary for people fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Loaded with symbolism, the decision paves the way for the full reopening of the United States, 16 months after the country’s first case of coronavirus was confirmed.
Faceless and smiling in a White House statement, President Joe Biden called attention to the importance of the collective American effort and said the country “is seeing the results” of the vaccination campaign that has already applied 264.7 million doses.
“You have done what I consider to be your patriotic task,” he said, repeating the nationalist tone he used in his first speech to Congress in April. “Americans have never disappointed their country.”
Biden stressed, however, that it is still necessary to overcome resistance from those who did not go to vaccination posts to extend protection. “The safest thing for the country is that everyone is vaccinated.”
Taking out of his pocket a paper with the number of Americans killed by Covid-19 – 583,210 this Thursday, more than any other country – the Democrat paid tribute to the victims and addressed the bereaved families. “The day will come when the memory of the parent you lost will make you smile.”
At an earlier press conference, Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), formalized the relaxation of the rules, saying those who are fully vaccinated “can start doing this again. that they did not do because of the pandemic ”.
“We are all looking forward to this moment when we can regain some sense of normalcy,” he added.
Despite the release, there are a few exceptions. The use of masks remains recommended in closed public transport (such as airplanes), airports, metro stations, retirement homes, prisons, hospitals and doctors’ offices, for example. And people with weakened immune systems should see a doctor before adhering to the new rules.
In addition, the CDC said people must continue to follow the rules of local authorities – if a person lives in a city where a mask is mandatory, they must wear the equipment, regardless of the recommendation of the federal government.
In recent weeks, the agency has come under pressure – from politicians, businessmen, doctors and health officials – to relax health measures for those who have already been vaccinated. The argument is that previous guidelines, which recommended the use of the mask in almost all settings, ended up discouraging vaccination – since those vaccinated continued with the same restrictions.
According to Walensky, new studies published in the United States and Israel last week showed that the use of equipment and distance rules are no longer necessary for those who are vaccinated.
In addition to confirming the effectiveness of immunizers, these surveys have shown that vaccines are effective against newer variants of the coronavirus and that there are virtually no cases of people infected after receiving all doses. CDC doctors also cited that the number of cases and deaths caused by Covid-19 has declined in the United States, further proof that vaccination works.
Even with all of these advances, health officials said the relaxation of the rules was only temporary – if the numbers worsen, the CDC could again enforce the use of masks and distance rules.
Authorities hope the measure will also encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Currently, 154 million Americans (or 46% of the nation’s population) have taken at least one dose, while 117.1 million are fully immunized (35%).
However, the number of people vaccinated per day has declined since it peaked at 3.38 million in mid-April. Currently, 2.16 million doses are applied daily in the country.
The United States currently uses three different vaccines: Pfizer and Moderna (which require two doses) and Johnson & Johnson (single dose). A person is not considered fully immune until two weeks after completing the application.
In comparison, in Brazil currently 15.68% of the population has received a dose of the vaccine. Although no federal decree recommends the use of a mask, several Brazilian states and municipalities have their own rules that require the use of the equipment. Most doctors also continue to recommend its use, even among those who have already received the vaccines.