Federal health officials on Thursday advised Americans who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus that they could stop wearing masks or maintaining social distance in most settings, the clearest sign yet that the pandemic might be nearing an end in the United States.
The new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caught state officials and businesses by surprise and raised a host of difficult questions about how the guidelines would be carried out. But the advice came as welcome news to many Americans who were weary of restrictions and traumatized by the past year.
“We have all longed for this moment,” Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the C.D.C. director, said at a White House news conference on Thursday. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”
It's important to note that "in most settings" caveat: