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CDC relaxes mask guidelines; India’s crisis deepens

A health worker walks past the funeral pyres of people who died of covid-19 during a mass cremation in New Delhi on Monday. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters)

Vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks during outdoor activities in small groups, federal health officials said Tuesday in updated guidance. Even unvaccinated individuals may go without masks when walking, jogging or biking outdoors with household members, officials said — but they said everyone should still mask up at sporting events, live performances and other crowded gatherings.

President Biden thanked vaccinated Americans on Tuesday for doing their “patriotic duty” and urged unvaccinated people to “go get the shot,” saying that “it’s never been easier.” About half of the eligible population has received at least one injection.

As new infections decline in the United States, India is battling a massive surge, recording more than 300,000 new cases for the sixth day in a row Tuesday. Biden has discussed sending vaccine doses to India in response to the worsening crisis.

Here are some significant developments:

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Here's what to know:

The CDC’s new mask guidance addresses growing calls from experts to drop mask mandates for outdoors because breezes disperse airborne virus particles, distancing is easier and humidity and sunlight render the coronavirus less viable.
West Virginia is offering an incentive to get vaccinated: Money. The state will give young people who get their shots a $100 savings bond, officials announced this week.
Women and people of color are the most likely to say they are financially worse off today than before the pandemic, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Social distancing indoors may not be enough to protect people from contracting the coronavirus and may provide a “false sense of security,” a new study of airborne transmission found.
Americans will have two more years to obtain a Real ID driver’s license, the Department of Homeland Security announced. The deadline was pushed back after many motor vehicle departments suspended or reduced services because of the pandemic.
As the virus devastates India, patients are on their own, fighting for their lives in an overwhelmed system in which ambulances, hospital beds, oxygen, medicine and even cremation grounds are in short supply. The country reported more than 300,000 new cases for the sixth day in a row Tuesday, breaking the global record yet again.


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