Dr. Anthony Fauci says people who are fully vaccinated might “want to consider” once again donning a mask indoors amid the spreading Delta coronavirus variant of COVID-19.
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 on CNBC that “if you want to go the extra mile of safety even though you’re vaccinated when you’re indoors, particularly in crowded places, you might want to consider wearing a mask.”
Fauci’s comments echo remarks he made earlier this month, when he told MSNBC that vaccinated people should consider masking-up if they’re in an area with high COVID-19 transmission. At the time, he also characterized doing so as going “the extra mile.”
In his CNBC appearance, the doctor also said the Delta variant is more infectious. “This virus is clearly different than the viruses and the variants that we’ve had experience with before. It has an extraordinary capability of transmitting from person to person,” Fauci said.
The variant currently accounts for 83% of all new infections in the US., according to the CDC. On Wednesday, the U.S. recorded 52,032 new COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Fauci’s advice doesn’t align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which says that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks except for very specific situations, such as when required by law.
But Dr. Jerome Adams, former Surgeon General, said Sunday that “the emerging data suggests CDC should be advising to vax it and mask it.” Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in late June that fully-vaccinated people should wear masks in public settings.
Fauci has gone back and forth on masks. First he 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 now he insists everyone should wear a mask.
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,” Fauci told NBC News.
Fauci in May flip-flopped yet again on masks, admitting on “Good Morning America” that it was merely political theater for him to wear a mask even after he’s been fully vaccinated.
“Before the CDC made the recommendation change, I didn’t want to look like I was giving mixed signals but being a fully vaccinated person, the chances of my getting infected in an indoor setting is extremely low,” Fauci told host George Stephanopoulos.
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