The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that physical distancing requirements and masks were no longer necessary for those who are fully vaccinated.
“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 on Thursday.” We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”
The updated recommendations come as the pandemic outlook continues to improve in the country and as evidence mounts that COVID-19 vaccines offer protection in real-world situations, according to Walensky.
The CDC is still encouraging prevention measures like masking and distancing for unvaccinated people.
Georgia immigrant detention center back under the microscope…
Those being held in a South Georgia immigrant detention center say the facility has not taken proper precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
One detainee, who asked to be called Roberto as his immigration status is pending, told WABE’s Roxanne Scott he was in the Stewart Detention Center for less than a couple of months and he still caught COVID-19.
“I couldn’t breathe. I lost my sense of smell. My sense of taste. My chest was hurting,” said Roberto. “I felt like I was gonna get a heart attack. I was afraid to fall asleep.”
It took a long time for him to get to see the doctor, Roberto said. And he was given masks but inconsistently.
Roberto lost his residency status after a drug charge landed him in prison. After serving his time, he was detained by immigration officials. His experience with COVID-19 at Stewart coincides with a new report by advocates about conditions at the facility during the pandemic.
The report from El Refugio cites the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), inadequate cleaning supplies and a lack of social distancing.
Stewart has had longstanding issues with medical neglect. And the head of El Refugio Amilcar Valencia said detainees were in genuine fear of dying while in detention.
The report is based on more than 400 calls to the organization’s hotline as well as letters from people detained there during the pandemic.
Officials have reported that four people have died at Stewart due to COVID-19.
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement representative did not respond to specifics about Stewart. But said in a statement ICE ensures those in custody are safe.
As for Roberto, he believes his treatment in ICE custody was unjust. And he hopes that federal officials will investigate conditions at Stewart and so do advocates.