First Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top immunologist, said Americans didn’t need to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Then he said wear a mask. Then he said wear two masks. And he also insisted that everyone should wear a mask everywhere — even outdoors, and even if they’re vaccinated.
Fauci — an immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who served on former President Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force and is now President Biden’s chief medical adviser on COVID-19 — said he thinks the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will soon update its COVID-19 guidance on wearing face masks outdoors.
“I mean, if you are a vaccinated person, wearing a mask outdoors, I mean, obviously, the risk is minuscule,” Fauci said on Sunday.
“What I believe you’re going to be hearing, what the country is going to be hearing soon, is updated guidelines from the CDC,” Fauci said ABC News’ “This Week.” “The CDC is a science-based organization. They don’t want to make any guidelines unless they look at the data and the data backs it up.”
“But when you look around at the common sense situation, the risk is really low, especially if you’re vaccinated,” he said.
Scientists still don’t know everything about COVID-19. Just last week, the CDC put out new guidance. “It is possible for people to be infected through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects (fomites), but the risk is generally considered to be low,” the guidance says. The CDC added that the chance of contracting the coronavirus through surface transmission is lower than 1 in 10,000.
That’s contrary to what experts said at the beginning of the pandemic, when the prevailing wisdom was that surface transmission was the prime vehicle for catching COVID.
Back in March 2020, when the World Health Organization (WHO) was telling everyone it was mostly surface transmission, Fauci declared, “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.”
“When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is,” the doctor said on CBS News.
In February, Fauci said that wearing two masks is likely more effective than wearing one.
“If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on it, just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective,” Dr. Fauci told NBC News.
Then there’s former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who said last month that the six-foot social distancing mandate put in place across much of the U.S. “wasn’t based on clear science.”
“This six-foot distancing requirement has probably been the single costliest mitigation tactic that we’ve employed in response to COVID … and it really wasn’t based on clear science … We should have re-adjudicated this much earlier,” he said in an interview with CNBC.