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Federal guidelines on the use of indoor masks may change soon, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday.
They asked him if it was time to start relaxing his inner mask requirements.
“I think so, and I think you’ll probably see it as we move forward and as more people get vaccinated,” Fauci told ABC News this week .
About 150 million adults in the United States, or about 58% of the adult population, have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest CDC account updated on sunday. About 113 million adults, or 44%, are considered completely vaccinated.
“The CDC will be, you know, almost real-time … updating its recommendations and guidelines,” Fauci said.
Last month, the CDC relaxed its focus on those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Those who have been shot do not need to wear a mask outdoors or in small indoor meetings with other vaccinated people, but vaccinated and unvaccinated people are recommended to wear masks in indoor public spaces.
“We need to start being more liberal as we vaccinate more people,” Fauci said. “As more people are vaccinated, the number of cases a day will drop absolutely.”
The United States averages about 43,000 cases a day, he said, adding that cases should be “much, much lower.” When the number of cases decreases and the number of vaccines increases, the risk of infection will drop drastically inside and outside, he said.
Even after the pandemic, wearing masks could become a seasonal habit, Fauci told NBC News Sunday Meet the press .
“I think people have become accustomed to the fact that wearing masks, clearly if you look at the data, decreases respiratory diseases. We’ve had virtually no existence. grip season this year, ”he said.
“So it’s conceivable that as we move forward, in a year or two or more, that during certain seasonal periods when you have respiratory-transmitted viruses like the flu, people can choose to carry masks to decrease the likelihood that I will spread these diseases transmitted by the respiratory tract, ”he said.
Fauci was asked about the inner mask guidelines Sunday after former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD said facial mask requirements should be relaxed.
“Certainly outdoors, we should no longer put limits on meetings,” Gottlieb told CBS News Face the nation .
“States where prevalence is low, vaccination rates are high, we have good evidence and we are identifying infections, I think we could start lifting these restrictions inland as well,” he said.
Lifting pandemic-related restrictions in areas where they are no longer needed could also encourage people to apply them again if cases increase during future floods, such as this fall or winter, Gottlieb said.
At the same time, Americans should continue to follow CDC guidelines and wait for new guidelines before changing the use of the inner mask, said Jeff Zients, White House COVID-19 response coordinator, at CNN. State of the Union Sunday.
“We all want to get back to a normal lifestyle,” he said. “I think we’re on track to do that, but let’s be disciplined and take advantage of the new privilege of getting vaccinated and not wearing masks outdoors, for example, unless you’re in a crowded place.”
Zients noted President Joe Biden’s goal that 70% of adults receive at least one dose of vaccine by July 4th.
“As we all move towards this 70% target, there will be more and more benefits to getting vaccinated,” he said. “And if you’re not vaccinated, you’re not protected.”
ABC News: “Transcript” This Week “5-9-21: Dr. Anthony Fauci, Fatima Goss Graves, Diane Swonk and Lareina Yee.”
CDC: “COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States.”
NBC News: “Meet the Press – May 9, 2021.”
CBS News: “Transcript: Scott Gottlieb talks about coronavirus in ‘Face the Nation,’ May 9, 2021. ‘
CNN: “Transcript of the State of the Union, May 9, 2021.”