OnPolitics: CDC relaxes guidelines for the fully-vaccinated

The updated CDC rules still call for everyone to wear masks in crowded indoor settings such as buses, planes and hospitals. (Photo: USA TODAY)

Breaking news this Thursday: The CDC has relaxed guidelines for wearing masks indoors. It’s a decision with major implications:

The new guidance says that fully vaccinated people can safely stop wearing masks inside most places. The rules still call for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings such as buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters but could ease restrictions for reopening workplaces and schools.

It’s Mabinty, with your guide to what that means in Washington. 

CDC to America: Mask off

The new mask guidelines, announced by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, represent a major step toward a return to normalcy for a nation battered and at times divided by a pandemic that has lasted more than a year.

(Reminder: A person is considered fully vaccinated against the coronavirus two weeks after getting the second Pfizer or Moderna shot or the same amount of time after receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.) 

The new recommendations from the CDC could serve as an incentive for the tens of millions of eligible Americans who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 to get their shots.

Though more than 46% of the U.S. population of 330 million has received at least one vaccine dose, polls have shown about 25% don’t intend to get inoculated.

Biden reacts

“Today is a great day for America in our long battle against the coronavirus,” President Biden said. “It’s been made possible by the extraordinary success we’ve had in vaccinating so many Americans so quickly.”

When asked about forcing unvaccinated people to wear a mask, Biden said, “We’re not going to go out and arrest people.”

What happens next in the Liz Cheney drama? 

The abrupt ouster of Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney from the House GOP leadership Wednesday took only minutes, but the expected election Friday of New York Rep. Elise Stefanik to replace her is likely to reverberate through the Republican Party for years.

Following the vote to remove her, Cheney vowed to “do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office.”

“We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language… I think it’s very important that we make sure whoever we elect will be faithful to the Constitution,” Cheney told reporters.

Stefanik’s rise – and Cheney’s fall – is also one more sign of the transformation of the GOP into a party defined not by ideology, but by personality. Call it the Trumplican Party. 

Read more from USA TODAY’s Susan Page on how Trump has once again done the unprecedented, this time by continuing to dominate his party after losing the White House.

More in the political world: 

  • Marine Corps officer becomes first active-duty service member charged in Jan. 6 attack, DOJ says
  • ‘Beyond the pale’:Pelosi says that House ethics committee should ‘probably’ investigate Marjorie Taylor Greene over AOC confrontation
  • ‘Don’t panic’: Biden says Colonial Pipeline has reached full operational capacity but warns resupply will ‘take some time’
  • Joel Greenberg likely to plead guilty Monday, could be key witness against Rep. Matt Gaetz

Need more incentive to get vaccinated? Free Shake Shack fries 🍟—Mabinty

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