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What the CDC’s New Mask Rules Mean for the Immunocompromised, and What That Means for Everyone Else

LifeHacker: “…Less than a month later, on May 13, the CDC released new mask and distancing guidelines. Fully vaccinated people with healthy immune systems (aka the immunocompetent) can now safely resume pre-pandemic behavior indoors and out. In contrast, the CDC’s advice for the immunocompromised is that we might need to continue masking and social distancing even if vaccinated, because we might not have sufficient immunity to protect us from a severe case of COVID-19. These contradictory guidelines have implications for everyone, not just immunocompromised people. If you have a healthy immune system and adopt the new CDC guidelines, for instance, you could potentially expose immunosuppressed family, friends, colleagues, and clients to COVID-19 even if everyone is vaccinated. Moreover, the best estimate we have for the number of immunosuppressed Americans—approximately 8.5 million—is an undercount. So, you might be putting someone in your circle at risk who doesn’t realize they are immunocompromised. That someone might even be you. The good news is that the science is increasingly clear on which particular immunosuppressive conditions and medications are most likely to lower vaccine immunity, even if the crucial question—how much immunity is enough to protect someone from severe COVID-19—remains unknown…”

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