Dr. Anthony Fauci has indicated that a change in coronavirus health policy on the use of face masks may be coming, but he remained hesitant to say exactly when that might be.
The use of 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 surface throughout the 2020 presidential election.
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Fauci told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the use and recommendations regarding face masks may change soon as vaccinations continue.
“This is something that, as we get more information, it’s going to be pulling back that you won’t have to,” Fauci said. “But currently, the reason is that when you get vaccinated you are clearly diminishing dramatically your risk of getting infected.”
As he has said recently, 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 have around 95% efficacy, meaning that there is a 5% to still become infected.
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Another concern is variants, such as the New York variant or the more troubling South Africa variant, which may be more resistant to the vaccines.
Israel has shown that vaccinations can lead the way to a return to normalcy. The nation dropped its outdoor mask mandate Sunday after vaccinating roughly 80% of its adult population.
Meanwhile, tension around face masks and other restrictions in the U.S. remains high, with Fauci and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, clashing over their use.
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Jordan Thursday demanded Fauci provide a timeline as to when Americans can “get their freedom back.”
“When we get the level of infection in this country low enough that it is not a really high threat,” Fauci responded.
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Fauci would not specify what level would be considered low enough not to be a threat.