The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing new guidance that would allow for gatherings between members of households who have already received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
“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 you know are doubly vaccinated,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said of the updated guidance. “Small gatherings in the home of people, I think you can clearly feel that the risk — 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.”
But while social gatherings may seem to be a step toward a return to normal, the updated guidance also says that people should wear masks and social distance in public for the foreseeable future.
The guidelines include scenarios to consider, laying out rules for who, when, and where people should socialize and gather outside of their household.
The cautious guidelines come as the CDC has continued to warn of the dangers posed by new variants of COVID-19, which have spread across the country as officials rush to administer vaccinations.
“I want to really keep our eye on the fact that … cases are increasing right now, slightly. The goal is not to sort of open up travel, open up all things because … we’re scaling up vaccination. The goal in those first 100 days has always been to sort of make sure that we are in a place to be out of this pandemic,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said. “At 70,000 cases per day, we’re not in that place right now.”
Fauci said experts are looking to avoid a surge of cases over the summer, something they did a poor job of last year.
“That’s a big lesson. In my mind, what occurred back last early summer, when we said, ‘OK, let’s try and open up the country and open up the economy,’ and we gave gateway guidelines … there were two things about that that were problematic,” Fauci said.
“The first was that the baseline level of daily infections at that time was really quite high. So you were starting off in a precarious situation,” Fauci continued. “The second problematic thing is that many of the states did not adhere to the reopening guidelines. The reason I go back to that story is that as we get the level of cases to be very low … and get more and more people vaccinated, you’re going to have to gradually pull back in a very measured way. You can’t make it like a light switch.”