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Safety News Roundup: Week of May 9–14, 2021

May 14, 2021
The latest CDC COVID-19 guidance and other news that speaks to a return to normalcy.

This week, we're looking at signs of life: as it was, is and could be in the near future. This week's roundup has put a spring in our step that we're taking all the way to the weekend.

CDC Updates COVID-19 Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday that fully vaccinated Americans can resume normal life in most non-healthcare indoor and outdoor settings.

“If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky in a White House briefing. “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing.”

Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. Fully vaccinated people can also refrain from testing following a known exposure to COVID-19 unless they are residents or employees of a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter.

All people still need to wear masks while on public transportation and airplanes and in health care and congregate settings such as at hospitals, doctor offices and prisons. The updated CDC guidance does not overrule individual state mandates on mask-wearing.

“With regard to businesses, communities, schools, we, of course, will be updating our guidance in many of these areas very shortly,” Walensky said.

These changes expand upon the CDC’s guidance issued about two weeks ago that fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks outdoors in small gatherings.

Read the CDC guidance here.

More than a Best Friend

This article was precisely what we didn’t know we needed to see this week. As the headline suggests, service dogs protect us, bond with us and even save us.  Despite not having opposable thumbs, it seems there isn’t anything dogs can’t do. Service dogs be trained to complete upwards of 50 tasks, but perhaps the most impressive is the way they wiggle worm their way into their owners’ hearts and make their lives better.

This story recounts how three service animals have helped their owners manage illnesses and mental health challenges, including those sustained during combat. Even those canine companions without formal training still have an innate ability to serve us and bring us joy (in addition to slobbery toys).

Read the heartwarming tale here.

Stop and Admire the Flowers

This story caught our attention both for its lush photography and vulnerability New Yorkers aren’t characteristically known for. This thoughtful and thorough story seeks to answer the question many have been asking: Are there more tulips than usual this year? The author describes the beauty of tulips and other spring blooms against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The article seamlessly shifts from anecdotes to data on tulip planting and sales to an explanation of psychological trauma. The result is a masterful field of observations and insights that come close to capturing the splendor of nature, including this quote: “Everything is just more beautiful after going through this horrible year,” said Monica Barrett, a real estate appraiser and environmental activist, gesturing at a patch of tulips striped in psychedelic scarlet, yellow and orange hues.

Read more about tulips (and the human condition) here.

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