As vaccination totals rise, restrictions finally begin to ease across the country

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The country’s aggressive vaccination campaign has paid off, according to the CDC.

It says coronavirus cases in the country are at their lowest rate since September, deaths are at their lowest point since last April and the test positivity rate is at the lowest point since the pandemic began.

In the United States, 35.8% of the population – or nearly 119 million people — are fully vaccinated.

Another 46% are on their way, with at least one shot in the arm.

Dr. Tra’Chella Johnson Foy said that the lifting of the mandate is a step in the right direction, but businesses still need to make themselves aware of the most recent information and do their “due diligence.”

“My best advice is, for businesses, still do your due diligence. I’m a business owner, so I know that I still have people to protect. Parents, still do your due diligence,” she said. “So yes, if you are not vaccinated, you need to make sure you go get vaccinated. Those who are vaccinated, still be safe and encourage those around you to go get the vaccine because it is safe, and it is working.”

Those numbers led to CDC’s new guidance on masks, announced on Thursday, that wearing a mask can be discontinued in most situations.

People can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic … without wearing a mask or staying six feet apart. There are exceptions, including when its required by federal, state or local regulations.

You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace and local businesses.

President Joe Biden called this news a milestone.

“If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask,” he said, summarizing the new guidance and encouraging more Americans to roll up their sleeves. “Get vaccinated — or wear a mask until you do.”

“This is clearly a step in the direction we want to go,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID Director and Chief Medical Adviser to the President.

The President is asking people who are not fully vaccinated to wear a mask indoors. The new guidance could open the door to confusion as there’s no way for businesses to distinguish between people who are fully vaccinated or not. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill earlier this month to ban vaccine passports, which would show proof that a person was up to date on the vaccine.

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Multi-media journalist with a special interest in Georgia issues.