CDC guidelines to wear masks outdoors anywhere busy are likely to change soon, Fauci said

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Fauci talking to ABC's This week
Dr. Anthony Fauci on ABC News' "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" on April 25. ABC News/YouTube
  • CDC guidance for wearing masks outdoors may be updated soon, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday.

  • Evidence showed that "outdoor risk is really, really quite low," Fauci told ABC News' "This Week."

  • Laxer guidance would be "common sense," Fauci said.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be updating guidance for mask-wearing in outdoor spaces soon, Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC News' "This Week" on Sunday.

Answering questions from George Stephanopoulos, Fauci, the White House's chief medical advisor, said the move is "common sense" as the evidence shows that "outdoor risk is really, really quite low."

For vaccinated people wearing masks outdoors, "the risk is minuscule," he said.

"I believe what the country is going to be hearing soon is updated guidelines from the CDC," Fauci told ABC News. "The data backs it up," he said.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of the CDC, told NBC News' "Today" on Thursday that the agency is "looking at the outdoor masking question."

CDC guidance already says that masks aren't needed "when you are outside by yourself away from others," but it continues to recommend that anyone older than 2 should wear a mask in "public settings and when around people who don't live in their household."

The risk of transmitting the virus outdoors is much lower than in indoor spaces, experts told Insider's Hilary Brueck for a recent report.

That is because the air circulating around outdoors sweeps the virus away.

But the risk is not zero, so wearing a mask when in a crowded space, even outdoors, can be a good idea.

As of April 16, 26 states require people to wear masks indoors and outdoors statewide, Ballotpedia said.

But North Carolina has said that outdoor mask mandates could be lifted by June. Connecticut aims to lift its outdoor mask mandate by May 1.

Massachusetts announced that changes to its mask mandates could be coming in the next weeks. And New Hampshire is set to let its mask mandate expire on May 7.

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