04:33 GMT17 May 2021
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    As of Tuesday, close to 142 million Americans, or 43% of the adult US population, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 96 million Americans, or 29% of the adult US population, have been fully vaccinated.

    As efforts to curb COVID-19 infections and symptoms continue, the CDC announced a series of new related guidelines and recommendations on Tuesday. 

    "Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask outdoors, except in certain crowded settings and venues," the public health agency detailed, just weeks after declaring that fully vaccinated Americans could resume travel at "low risk." 

    As for fully vaccinated employees, those who have been exposed to the novel coronavirus "no longer need to be restricted from work," so long as the employee is "asymptomatic."    

    "Fully vaccinated residents of non-healthcare congregate settings no longer need to quarantine following a known exposure," the CDC stated. 

    The agency also released a graphic detailing its face mask guidance for both "unvaccinated people" and "fully vaccinated people."

    In short, the CDC still advises all Americans to don face masks when indoors. 

    Additionally, the agency highlighted that those with a weakened immune system should consult their doctor before adopting the new guidelines.  

    Naturally, many Americans were critical of the CDC's updated guidance -- but for different reasons. 

    A number of individuals online expressed confusion and skepticism concerning the change in recommendations. 

    On the other hand, netizens who appeared to support the Biden administration and the CDC expressed they would continue to wear don face masks when outside to ensure optimal protection. 

    Relatedly, the US Department of State announced on Monday that, beginning August 1, some international students and academics will be able to apply for a National Interest Exception (NIE) and resume schooling in the US upon approval.

    The travel restrictions were previously put into place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

    Qualifying countries include China, Iran, Brazil and South Africa. 


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