Dr. Anthony Fauci says the federal government should relax indoor mask guidelines as more residents are vaccinated.
What You Need To Know
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, said Sunday he thinks the U.S. government needs "to start being more liberal" with indoor mask guidelines "as we get more people vaccinated"
- Fauci made the comment on ABC's "This Week" when asked if he agrees with former CDC Director Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who said, “I think we should start lifting these restrictions as aggressively as we put them in"
- Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra didn’t sound as though he was ready to drastically alter indoor mask recommendations, citing concerns that a vaccinated person could still spread the virus
- More than 152 million Americans (45.2% of the population) have received at least one vaccine dose, while 114 million (34.4%) are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC
During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, was asked if he agreed with Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who said last week, “I think we should start lifting these restrictions as aggressively as we put them in.”
“I think so,” Fauci said. “And I think you’re going to probably be seeing that as we go along and as more people get vaccinated, the CDC will be, almost in real time ... updating their recommendations and their guidelines.
“But, yes, we do need to start being more liberal as we get more people vaccinated,” he said.
Fauci, however, added that he thinks the country’s seven-day average for new COVID-19 infections is still too high. The average as of Saturday was at 40,098, according to the CDC.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on Monday didn’t sound as though he was ready to drastically alter indoor mask recommendations, citing concerns that a vaccinated person could still spread the virus to someone who is not vaccinated.
“If you've been vaccinated, you're obviously far safer,” Becerra told CNN’s “New Day. “We still want you to be as safe as possible. That's why the indoor policy should still be masking. But clearly, if you've been vaccinated fully, and you're with folks who are also vaccinated … the risk does diminish dramatically.”
The CDC recommends people, regardless of their vaccination status, wear masks indoors when near people from outside of their households. Last month, the agency changed its guidelines for outdoor activities, saying fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks when with small groups of others who also have been vaccinated.
Gottlieb argued on CNBC last week that lifting restrictions would “preserve the credibility of public health officials to perhaps reimplement some of these provisions as we get into next winter, if we do start seeing outbreaks again.”
More than 152 million Americans (45.2% of the population) have received at least one vaccine dose, while 114 million (34.4%) are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
The country’s positivity test rate as of Sunday was 3.3%, the lowest it has been during the pandemic.