If the rate of vaccinated Americans increases and cases continue to decline, the long-time National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director said, Americans can expect a relaxation of public health regulations, particularly indoor mask mandates — though he said that current daily case count averages are still likely above the threshold where that would be acceptable.
“The CDC will be almost in real time … updating their recommendations and their guidelines,” Fauci said. “But yes, we do need to start being more liberal as we get more people vaccinated. As you get more people vaccinated, the number of cases per day will absolutely go down.”
Fauci further predicted in a separate interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that the surge in coronavirus cases the U.S. saw in the fall and early winter is unlikely to repeat itself if a sufficient proportion of the population is vaccinated, calling the jabs “the wild card that we have now that we didn’t have last fall or last winter.”
He acknowledged in that interview that mask wearing may become a seasonal practice, pointing to the significantly limited transmission of the season flu this year, a side effect that has been linked to public health measures intended to stop the spread of coronavirus.
“It is conceivable that, as we go on a year or two or more from now, that during certain seasonal periods when you have respiratory borne viruses like the flu, people might actually elect to wear masks to diminish the likelihood that you’ll spread these respiratory borne diseases,” he said.