Coronavirus News Update – May 15: Major Chains Shift Policies on Face Masks in View of New CDC Guidance

Universal Orlando Drops Outdoor Mask Requirement

By Anna Breuer on 15 May 2021
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Major U.S. companies are dropping face mask requirements for vaccinated individuals although the new policies rely largely on the honor system. The list of companies making the change includes Costco, Publix, Starbucks, Trader Joes, and Walmart and is applicable only in jurisdictions in the United States that have changed mask policies following the release of new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded almost 163 million Covid-19 cases and has seen over 3.37 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, over 140.9 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

Since the start of vaccinations at the end of last year, the world has administered more than 1.37 billion doses as of Friday morning, the equivalent of over 17.3 doses for every 100 people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of Saturday, 156.2 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Approximately 59.4% of the population over the age of 18 – some 153.4 million people – has received at least a first inoculation, including 120.3 million people, or 46.6% of the same population, who have received both doses. Overall, 36.7% of the population, or 121.8 million people, has been fully vaccinated against the virus.

Meanwhile, Universal Orlando Resort said it would no longer require patrons to wear masks while outdoors at the park.  All individuals including those who have been vaccinated will be required to don face coverings when indoors including at restaurants, and will also be required to social distance at a minimum of 3’ (0.9 m).   “Everyone is required to wear a face covering while at indoor locations, indoor hotel public areas and at all attractions, including those who have received a Covid-19 vaccine,” the policy reads.

On Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist, said that children who are not vaccinated against the coronavirus should don face masks when attending school. “The unvaccinated group, or the elementary school children – nothing has really changed for them,” he said on a CNN news broadcast.

While restrictions in some countries are going the way of the dodo, Taiwan, which up until now has had extraordinary success in containing the coronavirus, reported a new daily high of 180 locally transmitted infections in Taipei. Officials there raised restrictions to their highest level since the start of the pandemic 15 months ago.  The new cases represent over half of the 344 locally transmitted cases the island nation has recorded since early 2020.

In India, a rare black fungus is infecting many of the country’s Covid-19 patients.  The fungal infection has been traced back to indiscriminate steroid use and high blood sugar levels.   In related news, two Indian states and the union territory of Delhi have suspended coronavirus inoculations for people ages 18 to 44 amidst shortages of the vaccine.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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