WASHINGTON – Dr. Anthony Fauci has indicated that a change in coronavirus health policy on the use of face masks is possible, but was reluctant to say exactly when it could be.
Wearing face masks has remained a politicized issue since the early months of the pandemic, with debates over a national mask mandate dominating the conversation and continuing to emerge during the 2020 presidential elections.
Fauci told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that use and recommendations regarding face masks may change soon as vaccines continue.
“This is something that, as we get more information, he will withdraw and he will not have to,” Fauci said. “But currently, the reason is that when you get vaccinated, you are clearly drastically reducing your risk of getting infected.
As he has recently said, Fauci reiterated that the use of face masks by individuals, even after vaccination, has been to stop the low, but still possible, asymptomatic spread of the virus: vaccines are around 95% effective , which means that there is a 5% to remain infected.
Another concern is variants, such as the New York variant or the most worrisome variant from South Africa, which may be more resistant to vaccines.
Israel has shown that vaccines can pave the way for a return to normalcy. The nation abandoned its mandate for outdoor masks on Sunday after vaccinating about 80% of its adult population.
Meanwhile, tension around face masks and other restrictions in the US remains high, with Fauci and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, clashing over their use.
Jordan on Thursday demanded that Fauci provide a timetable for when the Americans can “regain their freedom.”
“When the level of infection in this country is low enough that it’s not a really high threat,” Fauci responded.
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Fauci did not specify what level would be considered low enough not to be a threat.
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