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Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revealed some eye-popping news on Thursday: if you're vaccinated, she recommended you could take your mask off indoors and outdoors in most situations. This left many relieved and others confused—why was this announced so abruptly, and it is actually safe? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke with John Dickerson on Face the Nation Sunday and shared his thoughts. Read on for five key takeaways that could save your life—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID And Should Tell Your Doctor.
Dr. Fauci Said the New Mask News Was Based on These Three Points
Dr. Fauci said the new mask news is the result of exciting new findings. "What's happened, there's been an accumulation of data on showing in the real-world effectiveness of the vaccines," he said. "It is even better than in the clinical trials, well over 90% protecting you against disease, number one. Number two, a number of papers have come out in the past couple of weeks showing that the vaccine protects even against the variants that are circulating. And thirdly, we're seeing that it is very unlikely that a vaccinated person, even if there's a breakthrough infection, would transmit it to someone else. So, the accumulation of all of those scientific facts, information and evidence brought the CDC to make that decision to say now when you're vaccinated, you don't need to wear a mask, not only outdoors, but you don't need to wear it indoors."
Dr. Fauci Said Vaccinated People Spread COVID Far, Far Less
"What the issue is, is that the level of virus in your nasopharynx, which is correlated with whether or not you were going to transmit it to someone else, is considerably lower," he said. "So even though there are breakthrough infections with vaccinated people, almost always the people are asymptomatic, and the level of virus is so low, it makes it extremely unlikely, not impossible, but very, very low likelihood that they are going to transmit it. Whereas when people who are getting infected, who were without symptoms, who are not vaccinated, generally the titer or the level of virus, relatively speaking, is higher than in the vaccinated individuals." He continued: "It's not going to be absolute zero, but the likelihood of this spreading is really very, very low. And that's one of the reasons why they're even talking about if you are vaccinated, that you're going to cut down on the testing of individuals, because even if they test positive, the likelihood of their transmitting to someone else is really very, very low."
Dr. Fauci Said, Once Vaccinated, You Become a "Dead End" for the Virus
"Does it increase the public health good of getting the vaccination or make that clearer based on these new findings?" asked the host. "I couldn't have said it better," said Dr. Fauci. "It's absolutely the case. And that's the reason why we say when you get vaccinated, you not only protect your own health, that of the family, but also you contribute to the community health by preventing the spread of the virus throughout the community. And in other words, you become a dead end to the virus. And when there are a lot of dead ends around, the virus is not going to go anywhere. And that's when you get a point that you have a markedly diminished rate of infection in the community. And that's exactly the reason…of why we encourage people and want people to get vaccinated. The more people you get vaccinated, the safer the entire community is."
Dr. Fauci Hopes People Are Incentivized to Get Vaccinated
"The underlying reason for the CDC doing this was just based on the evolution of the science that I mentioned a moment ago. But if, in fact, this serves as an incentive for people to get vaccinated, all the better. I hope it does, actually," he said.
Dr. Fauci Said if the New Mask News is Confusing Now, It Won't Be Soon
"The CDC did this and took this action based on the data," said Dr. Fauci. "What they'll do now and I know we've discussed that with the CDC director: What they'll be doing now is coming out very quickly with individual types of guidance. So people will say, well, what about the workplace? What about this? What about that? And I think that's going to be clarified pretty quickly. I would imagine within a period of just a couple of weeks, you're going to start to see significant clarification of some of the actually understandable and reasonable questions that people are asking." Get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't miss: This Supplement Can Raise Your Cancer Risk, Experts Say.