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Dr. Fauci says once you get your COVID vaccine, it’s safe to go mask-free around these people

Coronavirus update
  • White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has given some new coronavirus updates around face masks in recent days.
  • Dr. Fauci predicts that Americans will possibly still be wearing face masks in 2022.
  • Also, Dr. Fauci says that there are some very specific scenarios wherein vaccinated people can be around other vaccinated people without face masks.

One of the newest coronavirus updates from White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci concerns face masks — who needs to keep wearing them, and in what circumstances — as the US on Monday prepared to record its 500,000th coronavirus death since the start of the pandemic.

There are two points Dr. Fauci recently emphasized when it comes to face masks. The first, as we noted in a separate post, is that he thinks Americans may very likely still be wearing face masks as a result of the pandemic through some point in 2022. Naturally, that prediction frustrated some people, who see the light at the end of the tunnel still seeming to stay too far out of reach. At the same time, however, Dr. Fauci also recently put forward a scenario in which certain mask-less people are able to be around each other.

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During a February 18 interview with MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell, she asked him about the kinds of behaviors people will be able to pursue once they’ve gotten their coronavirus vaccine. Can they immediately go back to normal? Do they behave as normal, albeit with some modifications to their routines?

To answer the question, Dr. Fauci said a distinction has to be drawn between the behaviors that people do in public, versus what they do in private around people they know — in their own “pod,” as it were, consisting of people whose health they can vouch for. Which would include people in your household, and also maybe other members of your family that you don’t live with but who have nevertheless been vaccinated against COVID-19.

“So, for example, if you’re vaccinated and you have a member of your family vaccinated, someone that’s not lived with you, can you actually be with them without a mask?” Dr. Fauci asked, rhetorically. “Can I sit down and give them a hug and things like that? And the answer is, very likely, of course you can.

“But if only 10% of the society is vaccinated, you’re not going to be able to go to a restaurant or go to a theater, because it’s not gonna be opening.”

As far as much larger groups of vaccinated people gathering, well, Dr. Fauci says to sit tight on that a bit longer, because guidance is forthcoming. During a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science earlier this month, Dr. Fauci said he believed the CDC would be issuing some recommendations soon regarding what is safe to do in those situations, wherein vaccinated groups of people are congregating. And as far as a step in this direction, the CDC already did say on February 10 that, going forward, people who’ve been vaccinated no longer have to quarantine after being exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

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Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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