Updated May 17, 2021
Plenty of people were surprised and even caught off-guard last week when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that those who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a face covering in most situations. Thomas A. Russo, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, says he has been "advising a lot of people" about how to handle the new guidance. “People are nervous about this — I've heard it a zillion times,” he says. “The mask has been their security blanket for 14-plus months.” The big concern, Russo says, is that “unvaccinated people won’t be wearing a mask.” He says you should be “just fine” to go out in public without a face covering if you’re fully vaccinated, as long as you're not immunocompromised. If you are, he recommends continuing to wear a face covering, just in case. He points out that if you are not vaccinated, you still should be wearing a face covering.