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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans on May 13, allowing them to gather indoors without masks.
A widely shared video of Democrats mingling without masks in the White House came after the CDC updated its guidance for fully vaccinated Americans.
Social media accounts popular with conservatives are claiming that a clip of lawmakers at a recent White House event shows "Dems caught not wearing masks."
Instagram posts sharing the video were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The video, made from a 12-second clip posted by the Recount, shows Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Attorney General Merrick Garland and other politicians mingling in the White House. The group gathered as President Joe Biden signed into law a bill meant to address the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the pandemic.
President Joe Biden smiles after signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in the East Room of the White House on May 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP)
The video is missing critical context: The Democrats present were acting in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recently updated guidance for fully vaccinated Americans, which as of May 13 said vaccinated people could gather indoors without masks and without physically distancing. The people in the video were not "caught" violating any mask mandate.
"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," the agency said.
The White House emailed staff the day the guidance was updated to say that those who were fully vaccinated would no longer be required to wear masks, according to reports. CNN reported soon after that 100% of Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate had been vaccinated.
The crowd at Biden’s event also included Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who co-wrote the legislation, and whom Biden thanked in his remarks.
"The nicest part is being able to shake hands again and to see people's smiles," Collins said.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the event was open to 68 seated guests, plus a few dozen staff and journalists. Fact-checkers at Lead Stories and the Dispatch also determined that the video saying Democrats at the event were "caught not wearing masks" was missing context.
The Instagram posts are partially accurate — the Democrats were together without masks — but the videos also leave out important details and take things out of context. The Democrats were acting in line with the CDC’s guidelines and White House policies for fully vaccinated individuals.
We rate this post Half True.
The Dispatch, "Did Democrats Go Maskless at a White House Event?" May 24, 2021
The Associated Press, "New vibe at White House: Hugs are in; masks are (mostly) out," May 22, 2021
Lead Stories, "Fact Check: Democrats Were Not 'Caught' Not Wearing Masks -- CDC Guidelines Allowed It," May 21, 2021
The Wall Street Journal, "Biden Welcomes Largely Maskless Crowd to White House," May 20, 2021
The Recount on Twitter, May 20, 2021
The White House, "Remarks by President Biden at Signing of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act," May 20, 2021
The White House on YouTube, "President Biden & Vice President Harris Deliver Remarks & Sign the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act Into Law," May 20, 2021
CNN, "Congressional Democrats have a 100% vaccination rate," May 14, 2021
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 'Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People," May 13, 2021
NBC News, "White House celebrates end of mask requirement for fully vaccinated," May 13, 2021
Axios, "Vaccinated White House staff no longer required to wear masks on grounds," May 13, 2021
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