Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical advisor, said during his interview with ABC News' "Good Morning America" that despite COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations coming down, in part due to vaccine distribution, masks will need to be worn for many more months.
Host George Stephanopoulos asked Fauci if it was safe for the various states easing their COVID-related restrictions.
"You know, if you do it gradually, George, without turning a light switch on and off, remember, we had that conversation months and months ago when we were trying to open up America again for the economic reasons. You want to do it. You want to do it gradually and safely as opposed to just turning it on and off right away. There are still going to be the important need to wear masks. I think we still need to do that," Fauci said.
He further warned not to be in large group settings.
"And when you say need for masks, you mean for quite some time into the foreseeable future, a year, two years, three years?" Stephanopoulos asked.
"I’m not so sure it’s measured in years, George, but I think until we get the level of virus to such a low level in the community, and I had said a projection and it’s only a projection, that hopefully by the time we get all the people vaccinated, let’s say 70% to 85% of the people vaccinated, the level of virus in the community could be so low that you could start pulling back a bit on what are stringent public health measures," Fauci replied. "You don’t want to do it all at once, but I think we’ll be wearing masks for several, several months into the future."
In addition to continued mask usage, Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said wearing two masks at the same time is better to prevent the spread of COVID.