More than a year after the pandemic reached the U.S. and less than six months after vaccination began, the country reached a milestone Friday — now more than 50 percent of the population has received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, upwards of 166 million Americans, or 50.1 percent of the population, have gotten their first shot, and 133 million Americans are fully vaccinated.
Increasing vaccination rates are pushing the country toward a summer that looks more normal than last year, as the CDC issued guidance Friday saying that summer camps can ease mask requirements.
According to the CDC, camps where everyone is fully vaccinated can “return to full capacity, without masking, and without physical distancing.” Adolescents and adult staff who are fully vaccinated can go without masks, and children younger than 12, who cannot be vaccinated, are “strongly encouraged” to mask indoors but can be outdoors without a mask — unless in a crowd or near others for a prolonged period of time. However, if a camp cannot tell who is vaccinated and who is not, they should follow prior CDC guidance that recommends everyone wear masks.
Camps should also allow vaccinated campers to wear masks if they so choose. “Although people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks, camp programs should be supportive of campers or staff who choose to wear a mask,” the CDC said.
The CDC also cautioned camps to be aware of the transmission rates in their local communities or areas where their campers may be traveling from and, if rates are high, camp officials should consider mandating everyone wear masks indoors.
A CDC official told the Washington Post that so far 2.5 million adolescents aged 12-15 have received one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. This summer camp guidance comes as an update to earlier guidance issued in April that lawmakers and public health experts said was too strict.
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