Appearing on CNN Thursday, Dr Anthony Fauci declared that face masks are here to stay unless enough Americans get the coronavirus vaccination, and even then it will take at least six months before the masks can be left behind.
Speaking to Chris Cuomo, Fauci was asked if the masks could come off, to which he replied “Well, the answer is not unless you get the overwhelming majority of the country vaccinated and protected and get that umbrella of what we call herd immunity.”
"We as a nation need to continue to wear the mask, to keep the physical distance, to avoid crowds. We're not through with this just because we're starting a vaccine program."
– Dr. Anthony Fauci on protecting against Covid-19 while the vaccine is being distributed pic.twitter.com/pSsLJoybYh
— CNN (@CNN) December 11, 2020
“There’s still a lot of virus out there,” Fauci declared, adding “So just because you’re protected, so-called protected by the vaccine, you should need to remember that you could be prevented from getting clinical disease and still have the virus that is in your nasopharynx because you could get infected.”
“But until you have virus that is so low in society we as a nation need to continue to wear the mask, to keep the physical distance, to avoid crowds,” Fauci proclaimed.
“We’re not through with this just because we’re starting a vaccine program. Even though you as an individual might have gotten vaccinated, it is not over by any means. We still have a long way to go and we’ve got to get as many people as possible vaccinated. Of all groups,” he further urged.
Cuomo asked when the masks could come off, assuming enough people take the shot, to which Fauci replied that if enough Americans “step up to the plate,” we could see the back of the masks by June.
“If 75 or more percent of the population decides they want to get vaccinated, I would hope by the time we get to the end of the second quarter into the summer that we will have enough people vaccinated that by the time we get to the fall in the third quarter of the year that we will have that veil of protective herd immunity that would really essentially protect all the vulnerable,” Fauci said.
Fauci’s remarks echo those of The UK’s deputy chief medical officer, who said last week that despite the arrival of COVID vaccines, face masks will still have to be worn “for years” to come.
New guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) has also suggested that everyone should be wearing a face mask everywhere indoors at all times, as well as outdoors whenever they cannot keep more than a metre away from others.
The health body issued a new information sheet with the guidelines, but admits that there is “limited evidence” that masks have any effect on stopping the spread of coronavirus.
An in depth study by Danish scientists at Copenhagen University recently found no evidence that masks protect anyone from the virus.
A massive Danish study on mask usage found no statistically significant difference in coronavirus infection rates between mask-wearers and non-mask-wearers. In fact, according to the data, mask usage may actually increase the likelihood of infection. https://t.co/ijUy8hfNTY pic.twitter.com/gYDtA8ac0p
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) November 18, 2020