Fauci: Indoor mask guidance may be relaxed soon

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The U.S. could soon see further relaxed social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines from the CDC, according to health officials. 

As more Americans get vaccinated, the CDC will be updating recommendations and guidelines "almost in real time," Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a May 9 interview with ABC News. "We do need to start being more liberal as we get more people vaccinated," he added. 

Such an incentive could encourage more people to get vaccinated and could boost credibility with the public, experts said. 

"I think we should start lifting these restrictions as aggressively as we put them in," Scott Gottlieb, MD, former head of the FDA, told CNBC May 6. "We need to preserve the credibility of public health officials to perhaps reimplement some of these provisions as we get into next winter, if we do start seeing outbreaks again." 

Dr. Fauci also predicted masks would become seasonal in the long term as people look to protect themselves from other respiratory diseases in the winter. 

"It is conceivable that as we go on, a year or two or more from now, that during certain seasonal periods when you have respiratory-borne viruses like the flu, people might actually elect to wear masks," he said during a May 9 interview with NBC.

In April, the CDC eased outdoor mask guidance, saying fully vaccinated Americans don't need to wear a mask in most outdoor settings. 

 

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