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It may be time to relax indoor face mask mandates, Dr. Fauci says

Posted at 3:15 PM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 17:31:33-04

(WXYZ) — Federal guidance on indoor face masks may soon be relaxed.

Top White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said they need to "start being more liberal" when it comes to masking rules.

Chief Health Editor Dr. Partha Nandi says easing of face masks really hinges on vaccinations:

Dr. Fauci said that they’ll update the guidance in real-time, as more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19. Right now, 58% of adults have had one vaccine dose and 43% are fully vaccinated.

While these are good numbers, we need a lot more folks immunized. Also, another important factor that has to be considered when looking at easing mask rules is our virus caseload. The good news is that our numbers have been going down.

The US is now averaging about 41,000 cases and about 650 deaths a day. The bad news is that those numbers are still too high. And guess what’ll happen if the indoor mask guidance is lifted too soon? Well, I’m sure you know the answer - more people will get infected. Because we left the door open. And the virus is an opportunist. It jumps at the chance to spread and infect those who are not vaccinated or following pandemic precautions. So while it’s very exciting to think guidance on indoor masks may be relaxed, we still have to be careful until we’re closer to herd immunity.

There are three key concerns when it comes to vaccine hesitancy. And they are safety, motivation, and access. Now, local and state efforts are addressing these. For example, mobile and popup clinics will help with motivation and access. They’ll make it easier and convenient for people in communities to get vaccinated. As for safety, we have plenty of real-world data that shows the vaccines are safe and they work.

And, the fact that Pfizer has applied for full FDA approval should instill more confidence in those who may have been on the fence. I also want to urge anyone who still has questions, to talk to your family doctor. Get the facts from a medical doctor. Not from some wacky article on social media. Unfortunately, we have unscrupulous people in the world. And it’s very disappointing to me when good folks get misled by false claims and misleading information. So please be careful.