CDC releases new mask, social distance guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans

Dr. Darien Sutton is optimistic about the new guidelines and will be encouraging more young adults to get vaccinated.
3:59 | 05/14/21

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Transcript for CDC releases new mask, social distance guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans
The United States reaching a new milestone in the pandemic. But the CDC today issuing a new mask and social distance guideline for fully vaccinated Americans. To break down what hopefully may be a new normal, earlier this evening I spoke with ABC news contributor Dr. Darian Sutton. Dr. Darian Sutton, thank you so much for joining us. First question, today the CDC announced that Americans who are fully vaccinated don't have to wear a mask and don't need to social distance. What was your reaction when you heard the news? Good evening, Byron. I was actually really optimistic about this. I was waiting for this message to be given out because I was expecting it. Numbers have gone down significantly in terms of hospitalizations and deaths. Right now we've got a good amount of people who are vaccinated, but of course we want to make sure we hone in on the message. You have to be vaccinated if you want to follow these rules and take off your mask in these instances. Hopefully it encourages more people, especially young adults, to get vaccinated. I'm noticing your smile. You think this is a really good I do, I do. I was having this discussion with my colleagues today, other emergency physicians who have been fighting this pandemic with me since the beginning of this and we all feel as though this is a step in the right direction. As we are seeing the true effectiveness of these vaccines and how it is keeping people out of the hospital. Why is the CDC making this announcement now? That's a great question. I think it's more of an announcement -- I want to belabor the point, that this is more of an option. If you are in a situation where you are around people who you don't know their vaccination status, or if you generally feel uncomfortable given the fact that we're still in an active pandemic, it is okay to leave your mask on. I encourage people to do it if they feel instances or situations where they're just not sure. But I do think, given the rates of vaccination, this was more of a move to show people, look what life could be like in this new normal if we all participated. I think that's what the core message of today was. Dr. Wa legal 69, the CDC director, warned unexpected twists in the pandemic could require the CDC to once again change the guidance. Should Americans not be too quick to throw away their mask in this. Absolutely. We have to have cautious optimism in this instance, because although numbers are low here in the United States, we know very well that is not the same story in other countries around the world as this pandemic is wreaking havoc in places like India, as viral variants and mutations continue to spread. It's important to acknowledge that although we can follow these rules now, we have to be cautious and really keep an eye out and have surveillance so that we can know if we have increasing rates, we may need to step back a little bit to protect people. As you know, there have been reports of breakthrough infections among vaccinated people. A small number among the more than 117 million in the U.S. Who are now fully vaccinated. Should this be a concern for all, or are those just It speaks to the point that vaccines, although they are proving to be very effective, nothing is 100%. And so what I'm seeing right now is that these breakthrough cases, although they are important to acknowledge, in the context of over 100 million people being vaccinated, they're still small and prove that the vaccine is effective. As an E.R. Doctor who's been treating covid patients throughout this pandemic, what are you seeing in the E.R. Now? It's incredible, to be honest with you. Since the beginning of the rollout of these vaccines, we saw significant decreases in the amount of people coming to the hospital. Right now it is relatively rare to see someone who has been fully vaccinated sick and in the emergency room. But the demographics are kind of changing and shifting to younger as the majority of those who are currently infected are under the age of 50. So although covid-19 is less in terms of the amount of people who are requiring hospitalizations, the people who are needing treatment right now are younger and unvaccinated, which is more of the reason why we need to encourage young and healthy people to get vaccinated and to not take their chances. Dr. Sutton, always good to see you. Thank you so much. We'll see you down the road.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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