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You're 20x More Likely to Catch COVID Here, Says CDC

“Most transmission is happening indoors rather than outdoors.”
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Portrait of blonde woman outdoor wearing a mask

Despite the fact that millions of Americans are being vaccinated daily with one of three COVID-19 vaccines, the virus is still spreading at an alarming rate across the country, per experts. On Tuesday afternoon, during the White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revealed that there is one place you are significantly more likely to catch the virus than others. Read on to see what it is, and also where you no longer need to wear your mask—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.

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You are 20x More Likely to Catch COVID Indoors

people with face masks back at work or school in office after lockdown
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According to Dr. Walensky, staying outside will significantly reduce your chances of transmission. "There's increasing data that suggests that most transmission is happening indoors rather than outdoors," she revealed. "Less than 10% of documented transmission in many studies have occurred outdoors." Her comments came the same day the CDC announced vaccinated and unvaccinated people could walk, run, or bike outdoors with members of their households—or attend a small outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated family and friends—mask-free.

The CDC chief added that you are 20 times more likely to transmit the virus in the indoor setting versus outdoor. "That coupled with the fact that we now have 30%, 37% of people over the age of 18 fully vaccinated, and the fact that our case rates are now starting to come down, motivated our change in guidance as noted," she added. Keep reading to see where else you can ditch your mask.

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There's No Need to Wear a Mask in These Places—if You're Vaccinated

outdoor dining
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If you're fully vaccinated, you can also attend a small, outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people without your mask on—or dine at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households. Just be sure to wear your mask if you attend an outdoor crowded event, even after vaccination (or skip the event altogether). Remember, the CDC defines "fully vaccinated" as 14 days after your second dose of a Pfizer or Madrona vaccine or 14 days after your single dose of a J and J vaccine. "The bottom line is clear: If you're vaccinated, you can do more things, more safely, both outdoors as well as indoors," Biden said. "So for those who haven't gotten their vaccinations yet, especially if you're younger or thinking you don't need it, this is another great reason to go get vaccinated now."

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The CDC Says Everyone Should Wear a Mask Indoors

woman with phone bright pink shopping Mall coat with black protective mask on her face from virus infected air. concept of virus protection in the fashion, beauty, and shopping industries
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Given the data, the CDC suggests masking up while indoors regardless of vaccination status. Whether you're at the barbershop, shopping, or in a movie theater, keep your mask on, they advise. One reason? "Right now it's very hard to tease apart who is vaccinated," Walensky explained.

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There Will Be More Changes to Come in Mask Policy

Woman putting a second face mask.
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"This is the third time we've changed our guidance for fully vaccinated people. And as more people get vaccinated and these case rates continue to come down, we will come up with further updates." So until then, follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.