CDC releases new guidelines for Americans vaccinated against Covid-19

By Ben Westcott, Brett McKeehan, Kara Fox, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0103 GMT (0903 HKT) March 9, 2021
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12:24 p.m. ET, March 8, 2021

New CDC guidance give some limited freedoms to people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Syringes of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic organized by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department in Gilroy, California, on Thursday, March 4.
Syringes of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic organized by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department in Gilroy, California, on Thursday, March 4. Nic Coury/Bloomberg/Getty Images

New guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can safely visit with other vaccinated people and small groups of unvaccinated people in some circumstances — but there are still important safety precautions required.

The guidelines will be announced at the White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing on Monday.

The CDC defines people who are fully vaccinated as those who are two weeks past their second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine or two weeks past a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

People who are vaccinated are protected and there is growing evidence that they don’t spread Covid-19, but scientists are still trying to understand how long vaccine protection lasts.

“The level of precautions taken should be determined by the characteristics of the unvaccinated people, who remain unprotected against Covid-19,” the guidelines said.

The CDC says fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit other vaccinated people indoors without masks or physical distancing
  • Visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household without masks or physical distancing, if the unvaccinated people are at low risk for severe disease.
  • Skip quarantine and testing if exposed to someone who has Covid-19 but are asymptomatic, but should monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

However, people who are fully vaccinated still need to take precautions in many scenarios.

The guidelines say fully vaccinated people must:

  • Wear a mask and keep good physical distance around the unvaccinated who are at increased risk for severe Covid-19, or if the unvaccinated person has a household member who is at higher risk
  • Wear masks and physically distance when visiting unvaccinated people who are from multiple households.

In addition, fully vaccinated people should continue basic safety precautions, including: wearing a mask that fits well and keeping physical distance in public; avoiding medium- and large-sized crowds; avoiding poorly ventilated public spaces; washing hands frequently; and getting tested for Covid-19 if they feel sick. 

Remember: The CDC travel recommendations have not changed for the unvaccinated. The guidelines still say that with high case numbers, the CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time.

11:22 a.m. ET, March 8, 2021

New York City vaccinated more than 100,000 people this weekend, the mayor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

A nurse administers a vaccine at Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in New York, on March 5.
A nurse administers a vaccine at Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in New York, on March 5. Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Shutterstock

New York City has administered over 2.3 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday, adding that well over 100,000 people got vaccinated over the weekend.

“Supply, supply, supply” he said still remains an issue.

NYC continues to make efforts to vaccinate home-bound seniors – their door-to-door program began in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens and will extend through the five boroughs.

 

10:15 a.m. ET, March 8, 2021

CDC: More people in US fully vaccinated than people who have had the disease since the pandemic began

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

There are now more people in the United States who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 than the total number of confirmed coronavirus infections the country has seen so far during the pandemic, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Numbers posted to the CDC website on Sunday show that more than 30 million people in the United States have received both their first and second doses of Covid-19 vaccine.

Specifically, as of Monday, 30,686,881 people have received two doses, according to the CDC. 

That number is more than the nearly 29 million Covid-19 cases that have been reported in the United States so far, according to Johns Hopkins University data as of Monday morning. Experts maintain the actual number of total infections is likely underreported and much higher.

 

11:19 a.m. ET, March 8, 2021

New York City high schoolers can go back to the classroom for in-person learning on March 22

From CNN's Elizabeth Stuart

Students arrive at Stuyvesant High School in New York, on October 1, 2020.
Students arrive at Stuyvesant High School in New York, on October 1, 2020. Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg/Getty Images

New York City's public high schools will reopen for in-person learning on March 22 the Department of Education said Monday, the final group of the largest school district in the country to be welcomed back to school buildings.

There are about 55,000 students in grades 9-12 and 17,000 staff members returning, according to the department. The students returning had previously opted for in-person learning.

All of the city's 488 high schools will reopen, and about half of them will have all or most of their students in class five days a week. The department said that number will continue to increase.

Middle school students returned for in-person learning on Feb. 25, while elementary school students returned in the fall.

The department is also announcing that the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) will return in the beginning of April.

"Competitive play will resume in May and for the first time will continue throughout the summer," said acting press secretary Danielle Filson. To participate in PSAL, weekly testing and masks will be required and there will be no spectators allowed. The League will be open to both in-person and remote students.

10:12 a.m. ET, March 8, 2021

Hospitals in Paris ordered to cancel up to 40% of scheduled procedures

From CNN's Pierre Bairin and Antonella Francini in Paris

Hospitals across Paris have been asked by a regional health agency to prepare to cancel up to 40% of the scheduled medical procedures in order to free up intensive care beds. The goal is to free 1,577 critical care beds, the Paris region health agency confirmed to CNN on Monday.

According to the government statistics, the occupancy of ICU bed by Covid-19 patients in the Paris region has been increasing steadily to 83.7% on Sunday up from 71% just a week ago.

Nationwide, 3,743 Covid-19 patients are currently in an ICUs, the highest number since the beginning of the year.

10:10 a.m. ET, March 8, 2021

CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated people to be announced at today’s White House Covid-19 briefing

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

A patient receives a dose of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine on March 6, in Thornton, Colorado. 
A patient receives a dose of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine on March 6, in Thornton, Colorado.  Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will release long-awaited guidelines for people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 at today's a White House Covid-19 briefing, according to an administration official.

We're not exactly sure what will be in the new guidelines, but we'll be covering their release here at 11 a.m. ET.

Some background: Over the past two weeks, Walensky and Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s senior medical adviser, have underscored the need for guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated. 

In early February, Fauci said vaccination is not a "free pass to travel.”

Another administration official told CNN that the guidelines won’t be prescriptive for every situation – for example, whether it’s okay to go bowling or ride on a bus once you’ve been vaccinated.

“It’s impossible to get to that level of detail. We can’t predict every situation that human beings will be in,” the official said. “What we can do is give principles for people to think through. It will give people the means to think through it, and then they can choose what level of risk they wish to take.”  

8:53 a.m. ET, March 8, 2021

Air travel levels are at their highest since early January, TSA stats show

From CNN's Pete Muntean

Travelers walk through Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, on March 2.
Travelers walk through Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, on March 2. Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

Air travel levels are the highest they have been since the holidays. New TSA numbers show almost 1.3 million people were screened at airports on Sunday — the highest since Jan. 3. 

The new number, 1,277,719, comes on a non-holiday weekend. In pre-pandemic times, air travel would typically tick up in March following a lethargic February, but this could be a sign of rising demand as more people are vaccinated for Covid-19. Experts did anticipate an uptick in pandemic air travel for spring break trips.

Sunday’s number follows three air travel days of near or more than 1 million passengers: 991,547 people flew Saturday, 1.1 million Friday, and 1.1 million Thursday, meaning more than 4.5 million people flew over the 4 days.

“It’s a nice sign. It’s nice to see those numbers. Obviously, TSA is seeing it. We’re seeing it as well, but we need to see more of it to really say that we’re in that full recovery mode,” American Airlines COO David Seymour told CNN last week. 

10:10 a.m. ET, March 8, 2021

European Commission President says more vaccines are coming, stresses EU "cohesion"

From CNNs Claudia Otto in Berlin

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a press conference on February 26, in Brussels, Belgium.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a press conference on February 26, in Brussels, Belgium. Alexandros Michailidis/Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has addressed the European Union's sluggish vaccine rollout, saying that by next month, a lot more vaccines will be available.

Speaking to German newspaper “Stuttgarter Nachrichten,” on Sunday, von der Leyen said that "science has virtually overtaken industry with its record time in vaccine development," and that "we all underestimated that ramping up stable mass production involves considerable risks."

Von der Leyen's comments come as the European Union's 27-nation vaccine strategycontinues to splinter as member states turn to nations outside the bloc to boost a faltering rollout plagued by supply issues, contract skirmishes and sluggish takeup.               

"Eliminating bottlenecks in raw materials or in supply chains as quickly as possible was harder and bumpier than expected. That's why it was very slow at the beginning. Things have improved significantly. In January, around 20 million doses were delivered, in February around 30, and for March we expect around 50. From April, according to the manufacturers' plans, volumes could double again, partly because further vaccines are about to be approved," she said.

“The lesson from all this is, we need to have production capacity on hand for pandemics. And cohesion in a crisis is important. I can't even imagine how things would look in Europe today if a few large countries now perhaps had vaccines and most of the smaller member states had been left empty-handed for the time being," she said.

"That would have torn Europe apart and destroyed the single market on which we all live," she said, adding: "That's why I remain deeply convinced that the European approach was the right one."

7:41 a.m. ET, March 8, 2021

Syrian President and his wife test positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Eyad Kourdi and Mostafa Salem

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and his wife, Asma al-Assad have tested positive for coronavirus, a Syrian presidential statement said on Monday, according to Syrian State TV Ikhbariya. 

"After feeling mild symptoms similar to those symptoms with the Covid-19 virus, Mr. President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma al-Assad conducted a PCR examination, and the result showed that they were infected with the virus,” the statement said. 

“They are in good health and in stable condition, and they will continue their work during their home quarantine period that will last for two or three weeks,” the statement added Ikharbiya said. 

The country has recorded 1,063 deaths and 15,981 cases from the virus so far, according to data by Johns Hopkins University.