The nation’s top immunologist said Monday that Americans will have to continue to endure masking up in public so long as the COVID-19 virus remains at a higher threat level.
In an interview with Fox News anchor Brett Baier, Dr. Anthony Fauci made his prediction in response to a question about when Americans could expect to shed their masks.
Baier began by complimenting the NFL for getting through the season during the pandemic, after adopting several health recommendations including masks, before asking, “Is there going to be a time when we are going to have no masks? When is that time? If you had to guess — going to a sports game, going to a theater, going to a concert without a mask?”
“That will really be dependent upon how we get the level of the virus in the community down,” Fauci, the long-serving head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, replied.
(Source: Fox News)
“If we can get — and I have used this as an estimate, it is not definitive — if we can get 70 to 85 percent of the population vaccinated, and get to what we would hope would be to a degree of herd immunity, which really is an umbrella or a veil of protection… where the level of virus is so low it’s not a threat at all, then at that point, you can start thinking in terms of not having to have a uniform wearing of masks,” he said.
But the country isn’t at that point, Fauci went on to emphasize.
“But we’re certainly not near there yet,” he said. “When do I think that would occur? You know, it’s very difficult to predict, Bret, but if everything falls into the right place and we get this under control, it is conceivable that you might be able to pull back a bit on some of the public health measures as we get into the late fall of this year.
“But there’s no guarantee of that because if we don’t get the overwhelming majority of the population vaccinated, there’s still gonna be a considerable amount of virus in the community,” Fauci continued. “And as long as that’s the case…people are gonna have to wear masks.”
Fauci infamously said during an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” in March 2020: “Right now in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks. There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.”
In his interview, Baier mentioned that this year, Americans have heard very little about the seasonal flu, which generally kills between 30,000 and 60,000 people annually, asking, “Has that gone down dramatically?”
“Extraordinarily dramatically, and in fact, that is a very good testimony to the efficacy of wearing masks, avoiding congregate settings, and keeping distance because we did that during this late fall, early winter, and the level of influenza in the community is remarkably low regarding comparisons to other years,” Fauci explained.
Some health experts have suggested that people who become vaccinated should continue wearing masks, though others have pushed back on that idea.
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