Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky reiterated some welcome news Tuesday, saying that it is safe for COVID-vaccinated people to enjoy most activities without a mask, including Memorial Day weekend activities.
“If you are vaccinated, you are protected, and you can enjoy your Memorial Day,” Dr. Walensky reassured Americans.
This is the first major holiday travel weekend since the COVID-19 vaccines have been made available to all adults and some children. During Tuesday's White House COVID-19 Task Force briefing, Walensky reassured the public that the vaccination efforts are paying off.
"We have seen after holiday weekends in the past that cases have risen, but we've never been in a position where we've had almost half the adults in American vaccinated and protected from this virus," Walensky said.
While the news is very good for those who have been vaccinated, there are still about half of all American adults, according to White House figures, who have yet to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Walensky said Tuesday, "Our guidance is very clear, if you are vaccinated you are protected, and if you are unvaccinated in the context of Memorial Day weekend, we are really encouraging you to adhere to our guidance for people who are unvaccinated, and of course to get vaccinated."
Unvaccinated people are still advised to wear masks in most situations, and to social distance.
According to Tuesday figures from Johns Hopkins University, new cases of COVID-19 are up by 25,925 in the United States, bringing total cases across the country to 33.14 million. That's much different than around Christmas and New Year's Day when daily cases were in the 200,000 - 300,000 range.
New deaths in the U.S. were up by 427 Tuesday, down from roughly 3,000 per day during the Christmas-New Year's holidays. The total number of deaths in the U.S. are more than 590,000.