The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to announce Thursday that it will recommend people who are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus should be allowed to be mask-free in most indoor settings, according to the Associated Press.
"I think it's a great milestone, a great day", Biden said, speaking from the Rose Garden.
The new CDC guidance marks a major turning point in the country's fight against the coronavirus, and creates an important incentive for Americans who have not yet gotten their shots.
"If you develop symptoms, you should put your mask back on and get tested right away", she said.
The White House has sent an email to staff to inform them that if they are vaccinated they will no longer be required to wear a mask on its grounds, Fox News has confirmed.
"We have all longed for this moment", CDC director Rochelle Walensky said in a press briefing on the news.
"The rule is very simple: get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do", Biden said.
As for indoor spaces, vaccinated people will still need to wear masks in crowded places including public transportation like buses and planes, hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters.
"If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things you have stopped doing because of the pandemic".
To date about 154 million Americans, more than 46% of the population, have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines and more than 117 million are fully vaccinated. Federal officials also said vaccinated Americans should abide by existing local and state regulations.
There have been concerns that immunocompromised people might not respond as well to the vaccines as well as people with healthy immune systems. Biden urged people to go and get vaccinated, saying that the CDC's lift of the mask requirement only applies to those who are fully vaccinated. The AP reports that during a virtual meeting between Biden and a bipartisan group of governors Thursday, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox called for more freedom for those who are already vaccinated.
And while some people still get COVID-19 despite vaccination, Walensky said that's rare and cited evidence that those infections tend to be milder, shorter and harder to spread to others.