Dr. Anthony Fauci predicts "seasonal" mask wearing despite the White House's directive to relax public health guidance on face mask coverings when outdoors.
America's leading infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci isn't ready to let go of face masks just yet. The 80 year old National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director said that using face masks will be a "seasonal" habit well after the COVID pandemic subsides, citing that it has helped prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. His comments come just less than 30 days after the Biden administration relaxed federal guidance on mask wearing outdoors.
When asked by NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd when could America stop wearing masks outside and if mask wearing could become a "seasonal aspect," Dr. Fauci agreed. According to Breitbart, Dr. Fauci claimed, "That's quite possible. People have gotten used to the fact that wearing masks, clearly if you look at the data, diminishes respiratory diseases."
Dr. Fauci also claimed that mask wearing has alleviated even the flu season in America, saying, "We've had practically a non-existent flu season this year, merely because people were doing the kind of public health things that were directed predominantly against COVID-19."
The infectious diseases expert argued, "It is conceivable that as we go on a year or two or more from now, that during certain seasonal periods when you have respiratory-borne viruses like the flu, people might actually elect to wear masks to diminish the likelihood that you'll be spreading these respiratory-borne diseases."
According to CNBC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that individuals who have been fully vaccinated may exercise outdoors and attend small gatherings outside without having to wear a face mask, but cautions those who are attending indoor events to wear a mask. The CDC is confident about "lifting these ordinances and allowing people to resume normal activity," Dr. Scott Gottlieb said during CBS Sunday's "Face the Nation."
Dr. Gottlieb argued that in states where COVID infections are low and vaccination rates are high, local governments should be able to relax indoor public health measures. He believes that while COVID "won't disappear," there has been a significant reduction of risks of getting the virus thanks to the successful vaccine rollout and the natural immunity of those who have gotten COVID and recovered from it. President Joe Biden's COVID response coordinator Jeffrey Zients, has a more optimistic view, however.
"I think everyone is tired, and wearing a mask can be a pain," Zients said on Sunday during CNN's "State of the Union," the New York Times reported. "But we're getting there...and the CDC guidance across time will allow vaccinated people more and more privileges to take off that mask."
Over the weekend, the U.S. has recorded about 34% of its entire population as fully vaccinated, with 45% of the population having received at least one COVID vaccine dose. Despite this success, both Dr. Fauci and President Biden remain overly cautious and continue to wear face masks after being fully vaccinated.