Fully vaccinated people can go without masks indoors and in large crowds: CDC

The CDC’s new guidance marks a major turning point in the historic COVID-19 pandemic. Masks will still be recommended on buses and planes and in hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.
5:15 | 05/13/21

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Transcript for Fully vaccinated people can go without masks indoors and in large crowds: CDC
Good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a very busy Thursday night. And we begin tonight with that historic turning point in the pandemic in this country. Tonight, the CDC now saying no more masks for vaccinated Americans both indoors and outdoors. Even in crowds. There are exceptions, buses, planes and hospitals. President Biden in the rose garden late today celebrating the news, calling it a, quote, great milestone, a great day for America. Thanking Americans for getting us to this point, pointing to the vaccinations. The president saying Americans can now do what they're known for. They can smile at one another. He and the vice president doing just that today, walking back into the white house together without masks, without social distancing. The CDC director Dr. Rochelle walensky making the point today this is based on science. More data emerging in just the last week, that vaccinations work against the variants. 12 to 15-year-olds can now get the vaccine and tonight, more than 152 million adults have received at least one dose, that's nearly 59% of adults and about one-third now of all Americans. But there were immediate questions. If you're fully vaccinated, can you still transmit the virus to others without knowing? And if you're in one of those crowds or back at work, how do you know if someone near you has been vaccinated or not and does that pose a risk? Dr. Jen Ashton answering those questions in just a moment. We have it all covered for you tonight, beginning with ABC's whit Johnson right here in new York. Reporter: Tonight, a giant step closer to normal life for millions of Americans. President Biden late today in the rose garden -- It's a great milestone, a great day. It's been made possible by the extraordinary success we've had in vaccinating so many Americans Reporter: The president pointing to 250 million shots in 114 days. Fully vaccinated people are at a very, very low risk of getting covid-19. Therefore, if you have been fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask. Reporter: Biden then cautioned this -- If you are getting a two-shot vaccine and you have not gotten your -- you only had your first shot, but not your second or you haven't waited the full two weeks after your second shot, you still need to wear a mask. Reporter: It came just hours after the CDC director revealed new guidelines on masks in this country, under growing pressure to do so. We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy. Reporter: Today Dr. Walensky said this new guidance is based on the science. More science that has emerged just in the last week. One is the effectiveness of the vaccines, in general, in real world populations. One is the effectiveness against variants, which was just published last week. And then, the effectiveness in preventing transmissibility. Reporter: There are some exceptions. Masks still required for those who are vaccinated on buses, trains, planes and in hospitals. Americans reacting to the news. I've already planned a mask-burning party. I think that's fantastic. I think that's what everyone was waiting to hear. Reporter: Some wanting the country to move more slowly. I think we should continue for a while until more Americans have been vaccinated. Reporter: Tonight, the CDC now working to update guidelines for schools, camps and businesses. Starting today, millions of teens 12 to 15-years-old across the country were eligible to get the pfizer shot for the first time, like pia Andrade, who lost her principal to covid. I've seen the effects firsthand, and the more of us that get vaccinated, the better the world will be. Reporter: Appointments atz oil also opening up at thousands of pharmacies across the country. We were with 14-year-old Julia ban getting her first dose. Why was it so important for you to get the shot? So I feel like we've been in this pandemic what feels like forever, and I'm so ready to go back to my normal life. Reporter: Her father, Dr. Kevin ban, chief medical officer for Walgreens, says the pharmacy is also allowing walk-ins for kids and parents, to make this as easy as possible. So, what we want to do is make sure that they can get the shot easily, that it won't interrupt their life. Reporter: And late today, the president saying Americans can actually start smiling at one another again. If you're fully vaccinated and can take your mask off, you've earned the right to do something that Americans are known for all around the world. Greeting others with a smile -- Yes, it will be nice to see those smiles that have been hiding under these masks for so long. Whit Johnson back with us tonight. And we know that nearly 59% of American adults have had at least one vaccine dose, but we heard it from the president again today, that we're not there yet. He said the number needs to be much closer to that 70% mark to really help get this virus under control. Reporter: And David, that goal is by the fourth of July. Today, president Biden said, let's finish the work of beating this virus and getting everything back to normal. And those younger teenagers who make up 17 million Americans, will also play a key role in the coming weeks. Today, we've seen many of them at vaccination sites like this one, eager to roll up their sleeves. All right, whit Johnson leading us off tonight on this major step forward.

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

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