Speaking from the East Room with a mask in his hand, Biden said, “In a significant part of the country you wouldn’t have to take one of these off because you don’t have to put one on. Like in my home state of Delaware, where I lived in New Castle County, where I was yesterday in Pennsylvania. Because people got vaccinated. They got vaccinated. They don’t need a mask when the majority, the vast majority of the people got vaccinated.”
Facts First: Just because you live in an area where the majority of people have been vaccinated does not necessarily mean you “don’t need a mask” in certain situations. The latest mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is based on the level of transmission and Covid-19 case rate in an area, not specifically the rate of vaccination, which Biden noted later in his remarks.
To be fair to Biden, some of the places with the highest vaccination rates, like Vermont, also have low case rates and fall under the category of areas with moderate or low transmission which the CDC says don’t need masks. However, there are several areas, including the District of Columbia, where over 50% of the population is vaccinated but case rates are high enough that the CDC recommends even vaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor spaces.
The bottom line? If you’re vaccinated and trying to determine whether the CDC would recommend you wear a mask indoors or if a mask mandate is likely imminent in your area, check the case rate, not the vaccination rate.