Campus Life

Coronavirus on the Hilltop: CDC Issues New Guidelines on Mask Wearing

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In the past year, wearing a face mask has become the new normal. As more people get vaccinated, and case numbers go down, all that could change as Americans get a glimpse into a post-pandemic world.

The CDC eased face masks restrictions for fully vaccinated people on Tuesday. The new guidelines said fully vaccinated Americans can go outside without a mask on. But, the CDC added masks are critical in large groups, like at a concert or a parade. Masks are also essential indoors, but the risks of catching COVID-19 decrease for those that are vaccinated.

Full vaccination is two weeks after the second Moderna or Pfizer shot. Johnson & Johnson is two weeks after the first dose.

“So far, it’s showing that the vaccine can prevent the acquisition of the illness and even spread of the illness,” said Dr. Arthi Krishnan, a physician at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center. “It’s looking good.”

According to the CDC, anyone not fully vaccinated should still keep a mask on outdoors and remember that an indoor activity may be medium to high risk.

The CDC isn’t the only one planning to ease restrictions. After the CDC’s change in guidelines, SMU announced in a campus-wide email on Thursday that the university plans to transition to a regular in-person semester in the fall of 2021.

“This is a good time to move forward,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

President Turner pointed to the decline in case numbers on the Mustang Strong website and in Dallas County. He added that the SMU Health Clinic had delivered more than 2,500 vaccinations to members of the Mustang community.

“While this is a promising trend, we are taking nothing for granted,” said President Turner in the campus-wide email. “Along with our reduced restrictions, we are also preparing a contingency plan in case it’s needed.”

In the meantime, the university plans to lessen restrictions and gradually return to full occupancy in classrooms over the summer. By the time the fall arrives, SMU hopes to make a complete transition back to a regular semester.

Here’s What Else Happened This Week:

  • The U.S. has distributed more than 200 million shots. Now, 30% of Americans are fully vaccinated.
  • COVID-19 cases soared in India. For nine days in a row, the country has seen more than 300,000 cases.
  • Medical officials in Dallas County pushed the expected herd immunity date back to late July. Initially, the county was supposed to reach her immunity in mid-June, but vaccine rates slowed down.

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