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Biden is set to loosen guidelines for wearing masks outside, report says

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Adrian Cunningham | 27 April, 2021, 05:35

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in newly updated guidance for summer camps that people who can get vaccinated against Covid-19 should do so, but everyone should wear masks, distance is still necessary and staying outdoors is best.

During a Facebook live chat with Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) last August, Fauci advised people to "get as much outdoors as you possibly can", noting that "superspreader" events nearly always happen indoors in places like "nursing homes, meat-packing, prisons, choirs in churches, congregations of weddings and other social events where people get together".

The suggestions, which the CDC said are meant to supplement localized rules and regulations, come just weeks before camps are expected to begin opening.

Masks should be worn by everyone in camp facilities, except when taking part in activities like eating, drinking or swimming.

Currently, the CDC guidance says everyone should wear a mask in "public settings and when around people who don't live in their household". But as time went on and medical researchers learned more about the virus, Fauci changed his position and became a strong proponent of wearing masks at all times, even outdoors.

The guidance recommends keeping groups of campers in "cohorts" or "pods" to minimize exposure at the camp. "Limit mixing between cohorts". It emphasizes the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and getting vaccinated as soon as possible. "When you're outdoors, keep the mask on", he said back in August, though he acknowledged that being outdoors was significantly safer than being indoors. That distance should double to six feet while eating and drinking. "But when you look around at the common sense situation, the risk is really low, especially if you're vaccinated".

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It also suggests modifying a number of activities and traditions for safety's sake, such as avoiding group activities where distance can not be maintained, limiting nonessential visits from other individuals and organizations, and performing activities such as singing and chanting outdoors only. Campers should be placed head-to-toe during naps to maximize distance between their faces.

The CDC has been cautiously expanding its list of activities that it says are low-risk for fully inoculated people, which now includes domestic travel.

According to the CDC, adults/camp employees are to remain 6 feet from each other and children.

Camps may want to use screening tests for athletes, coaches and trainers, too, the guidance says.

"If you separate into nearly like pods of people that you know are being careful - maybe people who have been tested, you know they're negative, you know they're not being reckless - and stay with them, but not all over them", Fauci said.