CDC releases new guidelines for Americans vaccinated against Covid-19

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

Updated 8:03 PM ET, Mon March 8, 2021
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11:44 a.m. ET, March 8, 2021

Vaccinated Americans should still avoid travel, CDC head says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

People who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are still encouraged to avoid travel, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a White House briefing on Monday.

"Every time there's a surge in travel, we have a surge in cases in this country," Walensky said. "We are really trying to restrain travel at this current period of time, and we're hopeful that our next set of guidance will have more science around what vaccinated people can do."
12:08 p.m. ET, March 8, 2021

CDC director says they will continue to update their guidance for vaccinated people

Dr. Rochelle Walensky speaks during a news conference at the Queen Theater on December 8, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky speaks during a news conference at the Queen Theater on December 8, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said the new guidance released today on what activities are safe for fully vaccinated people represents the "first step."

"It is not our final destination," Walensky said.

She added, "As more people get vaccinated, levels of Covid infection decline in communities and as our understanding of Covid immunity improves" they will be updating their guidance.

Some more context: In summary, fully vaccinated people can visit with other fully vaccinated people, indoors without wearing a mask or physical distancing. Fully vaccinated people can also visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are low risk for severe Covid-19 disease, indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.

Walensky said that fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks and social distance when they're out in public and avoid medium and large-sized gatherings.

11:36 a.m. ET, March 8, 2021

Rio de Janeiro ICU occupancy reaches 96%, official says

From Marcia Reverdosa in Sao Paulo

The occupancy rate of ICU beds peaked this week in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, reaching 96% occupancy on Sunday, according to data from the Health Secretary of the State.

As of Sunday, the city has 616 ICU beds dedicated to Covid-19 care.

Hospitals across the country have faced an ICU occupancy crisis as variants of the virus spread and the vaccine is slowly rolled out.

The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, announced that new restrictive measures went into effect on Friday including people not being allowed on the street between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time, limited hours of operation for bars and restaurants and a ban on events or parties in public and private areas, among others.

The mayor emphasized that the new measures were taken preventively, to avoid something more rigid, such as a full lockdown.

Though the ICU occupancy rate for the state of Rio is around 73%, eight other of its cities have already collapsed. Bom Jesus, Miracema, Paraíba do Sul, Rio das Ostras, Saquarema, Sapucaia, Teresópolis and Três Rios have all run out of ICU beds, according to the Rio state health secretary data.

CNN has asked the government what measures are being taken to address the possible collapse of healthcare in the city of Rio de Janeiro, but has not heard back.

Rio de Janeiro state has nearly 600,000 cases of Covid-19 confirmed and 33,717 deaths, according to its health secretary on Sunday.

12:29 p.m. ET, March 8, 2021

US surpasses 29 million confirmed Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Ben Tinker and Brandon Miller

A medical worker administers a Covid-19 test at Rockland High School on Saturday, February 21, in Rockland, Massachusetts. 
A medical worker administers a Covid-19 test at Rockland High School on Saturday, February 21, in Rockland, Massachusetts.  Robin Chan/Wicked Local Staff Photo/USA Today Network

There have been at least 29,000,012 total cases of Covid-19 confirmed in the United States, and at least 525,046 people have died from Covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University

  • JHU recorded the first case of Covid-9 in the United States on January 21, 2020
  • 97 days later, on April 27, 2020, the US hit 1 million cases 
  • 103 days later, on August 8, 2020, the US hit 5 million cases 
  • 92 days later, on November 8, 2020, the US hit 10 million cases
  • 29 days later, on December 7, 2020, the US hit 15 million cases 
  • 24 days later, on December 31, 2020, the US hit 20 million cases 
  • 23 days later, on January 23, the US hit 25 million cases
  • 7 days later, on January 30, the US hit 26 million cases 
  • 8 days later, on February 7, the US hit 27 million cases
  • 14 days later, on February 20, the US hit 28 million cases
  • 16 days later, on March 8, the US hit 29 million cases

At least 20 other countries have reported more than 1 million total Covid-19 cases, according to JHU:

  • India and Brazil have over 11 million total cases
  • Russia and the UK have over 4 million total cases
  • France, Spain and Italy have over 3 million total cases
  • Turkey, Germany, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico have over 2 million total cases
  • Poland, Iran, South Africa, Ukraine, Indonesia, Peru, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands have over 1 million total cases 
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.