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Dr. Fauci Just Said When It's OK to Remove Your Mask

Even the country’s leading infectious disease expert takes his mask off in public sometimes. 

Wearing a mask has become a fundamental must-do in the battle against COVID-19. According to research, masking up is effective in slowing the spread of the highly infectious virus, as it protects not only yourself, but others, from coming into contact with virus droplets. While health experts, especially Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's go-to infectious disease expert, continue to drill into our minds that wearing a mask is essential, even the key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force takes his off sometimes. On Thursday, during an interview with Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, Dr. Fauci gave us all the go-ahead to de-mask in specific situations. Here is what you need to know about it, as well as other important coronavirus safety advice, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.


On the Five Fundamentals of Safely Sending Kids Back to School

Teacher and children with face mask back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown.

Dr. Fauci has maintained that there are five or six fundamentals that need to be done in order to slow the spread of the virus. When it comes to school, he explains there are five key things that need to happen to keep classrooms safe. "One is wearing a mask," he said. "Social distancing to the extent that you can, and if you can't then make sure you have a mask avoiding crowded congregation. Outdoors, always better than indoors. Good ventilation. If you can keep the windows open, if the weather permits, when you have children outside, try to make sure they don't congregate very closely together, make them be aware of safe distances."


On How to Avoid a Superspreading Event

eating outside

Fauci continues to reiterate that outdoors is better than indoors. "I would get as much outdoors as you possibly can," he said. "If you look at the super spreader events that have occurred, I think it's incorrect to call people super spreaders. The event is [the] super spread. They're almost always inside super spreader events—in nursing homes, meat-packing, prisons, choirs in churches, congregations of weddings and other social events where people get together. It's almost invariable. Nothing's 100%, but it's almost invariable that it's indoors. So when you are indoors, make sure you have a mask when you're outdoors, keep the mask on."


On Staying Safe in a Car

male taxi driver wearing face protective medical mask driving car with passenger

"When I'm in a car now I keep the window open," Fauci said. "Even though the person is driving the car and me both have masks on, I keep the masks on and keep the windows open."


On When to Take Your Mask Off

man walking on beach


While wearing a mask is one of Fauci's fundamentals, there are times when you can take them off safely. "When I see people out on a beach running with nobody around them, good for you, you know, do it. You don't need to be locked down outside," he said. However, if there are a lot of people around, mask up. "If you think you're going to get close to people, you know, flip a mask on. But if you're walking with your dog or your wife or husband or somebody that you're in the house with anyway, and you're not going to stay separated from them and then just do it." He also explained that there is no need to go to extremes. "You could see your friends," he points out. "I mean, what I do myself right now, I'm very careful about wearing a mask, but every evening, and it's now late at night, because when I go home, my wife and I, we go out for a four mile jog, power walk, whatever you want to call it. And I do this," he explained, pulling his mask down around his chin. "It's like this. And I'm chatting with her. If I see 50 yards ahead, someone coming, I go like that," he continued, pulling his mask back over his face. "We pass them. 'Hello. How are you?' And then I'm outside. You can do that. You can do that."


How to Stay Safe Where You Are


As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Mask up, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah
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