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CDC says those who have received both vaccine shots need not quarantine

The agency is now recommending double-masking for the public to contain the spread of more contagious new variants of the coronavirus.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(TAMI CHAPPELL/Getty)
Updated: February 11, 2021 - 1:31pm

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says individuals who have been vaccinated will no longer be required or advised to quarantine following exposure to someone with the coronavirus.

The guidance issued Wednesday applies only to those who have received both shots, with the second shot administered at least two weeks prior to the exposure.

CDC officials have also revised their positions on the recommendation of double masking — wearing a cloth mask over a disposable surgical mask to prevent the spread of more contagious variants of the virus, which are now spreading across the nation. The agency now says new research shows double masking can block up to 92% of infectious particles.

"These experimental data reinforce CDC's prior guidance that everyone 2 years of age or older should wear a mask when in public and around others in the home not living with you," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky of the new double masking recommendation.

Walensky also acknowledgement that many Americans are "tired of hearing about masks as well as tired of wearing them."

"Masks can be cumbersome, they can be inconvenient," she said while briefing the public on the agency's recommendation that they now wear two. 

The CDC has amended its guidance on masking since the pandemic started in March 2020. The agency first told the public that wearing masks could limit the supply for front-line health-care workers. Even when their position changed the first time the agency's recommendation has primarily emphasized the use of cloth masks for the public because of continued worries about a shortage of surgical masks — in fact, the agency still does not recommend that members of the public use N95 masks.