Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that nationwide mask mandates will not be mandatory again this winter, even if there is a significant increase in Covid cases.
Despite being ridiculed for his dark comments in the past, the former White House chief medical adviser said he would be “extremely surprised” if blanket restrictions returned at the federal level.
But he couldn’t promise that masks wouldn’t be “recommended” again at the state or local level, after schools, universities and businesses across the United States began asking staff and students to wear them again.
Fauci, 82, also said the risk of a recurrence of a deadly wave of Covid rivaling previous peaks of the pandemic was “probably low” because many Americans have immunity from vaccination or past infection.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said he would be “extremely surprised” if the United States again mandated mask wearing in crowded areas nationwide. But he said these could be recommended.
Government data shows Covid cases are rising again (shown by the orange line, which indicates the percentage of tests coming back positive for the virus)
He also said older Americans and those with underlying health conditions should get the updated booster shot before winter to boost their immunity. As for healthy Americans, he said they should have “the choice,” but he didn’t say they would need it.
Asked if mask mandates would return ABC ‘This Week’Dr. Fauci said, ‘No, I don’t see that in the future at all.
‘I can see that if we get a significant increase in cases, masks may be recommended in certain circumstances and in crowded indoor settings.
“But I don’t see those existing, certainly not federal mandates; I would be very surprised if we saw that.”
He added: “There may be local organizations that require masks, but I think what we’re primarily going to see is that if cases go up, then there might be recommendations, not mandates; there’s a big difference there.”
Asked if the US was facing a deadly wave of Covid, he said: “I don’t think so at all, although you always have to keep an open mind with this virus, it has fooled us before.”
“But given the level of immunity that we all have… in other words, people who have been vaccinated, boosted, people who have been infected like you and me… the chances of this being an overwhelming avalanche of cases and hospitalizations They are probably low.
“So, I don’t think any of us in public health are predicting that this is going to be a tsunami of hospitalizations and deaths like we saw a year or more ago.”
All indicators show that Covid cases are increasing in the United States as the country heads into the fall months.
Hospitalizations rose 16 percent in the week to August 26, when 17,400 admissions were recorded, compared with 15,000 in the previous seven days.
Deaths also rose six per cent to 672 in the week to August 12, compared to 631 previously.
There has also been concern about new Covid variants, including the more transmissible EG.5 strain, which is currently dominant in the US, and the highly mutated ‘Pirola’ strain.
Early evidence shows that the Covid vaccines rolling out this winter, made by Pfizer and Moderna, should also help protect against serious illness caused by those variants.
Dr. Fauci also recommended Sunday that older adults and those with underlying illnesses, who have weaker immune systems, receive the updated boosters.
The above shows how uptake languished during the booster vaccine rollout last year, with less than 17 percent of eligible adults coming forward.
He said: “My personal feeling is that I certainly believe in those who are vulnerable, the elderly, those with underlying illnesses…
‘But I think we should give the option to people who are not in high-risk groups to have the vaccine available to them.
‘(This is because, again, we have experience with this type of vaccine in billions of people; it is a safe vaccine; of course, with mRNA there is a very, very low risk, particularly in young men, of getting myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), but the risk of Covid itself is greater than the risk of the vaccine.
Masks have returned to some businesses, universities and schools in recent days, and even President Biden, 80, was photographed wearing a mask after his wife Jill tested positive for Covid last week.
President Biden removes his mask during the Medal of Honor ceremony today, an act that seemed to exemplify Americans’ mask fatigue.
Fauci’s comments come after a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine committee exclusively told this website that healthy adults under age 75 did not need to receive the booster shot.
Dr. Paul Offit, who advises the FDA on a variety of vaccines for infectious diseases, told DailyMail.com that middle-aged and younger Americans who do not suffer from chronic diseases already had strong enough immunity thanks to the vaccines and previous infections against Covid to prevent serious illness this winter. .
Their recommendation comes as the FDA prepares to approve new updated Covid boosters made by Pfizer and Moderna designed to target new variants.
The expectation is that the Biden Administration will approve another nationwide rollout, encouraging all Americans to take it, even though other countries, such as the United Kingdom, say the vaccines are only necessary for adults over 65.
Dr Offit told DailyMail.com: ‘I think it would be best for us to target these booster doses at those who are most at risk of severe illness (i.e. hospitalisation).
‘Specifically, those over 75 years of age, those who have health problems that put them at higher risk for serious illnesses (such as obesity, chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease and diabetes, among others) (and) those who are immune- engaged and those who are pregnant.’