What a difference a vaccine makes (that, and CDC guidance saying vaccinated people can safely do just about anything mask-free). At the Biden White House, which remained a COVID-cautious bubble longer than many corners of the country, it’s like 2019 all over again, with large and largely mask-free events in the East Room both Thursday and Friday.
The White House is opening up as the rest of the country sorts through what the latest guidance means and how it applies to them. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated people can be indoors or outdoors without masks, the mask rules still apply in some settings.
Critics, including some health care professionals, worry broadly that without requiring proof of protection, the swing in guidance could disincentivize vaccinations. Others worry children who are too young to be vaccinated could be left exposed if people who aren’t vaccinated ditch their masks as well.
In the highly vaccinated bubble of the White House, though, the administration is embracing the guidance change.