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Dr. Fauci Just Said How Long You'd Have to Wear Your Mask

Don’t throw away your protective face coverings just yet.

Since March 2020, the majority of the global population has been protecting themselves and others from COVID-19 transmission by wearing protective face coverings. However, now that three vaccines are here and being injected into the arms of people, many are wondering when face masks will become a thing of the past and people can walk freely around in public without fear of the virus. In a new interview with WTOP's Mike Murillo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addressed the question on everyone's minds. Read on to learn when he thinks we can take off our masks—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Dr. Fauci Said Masks Will Be Around "For a While"

According to Dr. Fauci masks are going to be around "for a while, because you really want to make sure that the level of virus in society is so low, that the risk is truly minimum," he revealed. "And in fact, maybe miniscule." 

One of the reasons why masks are still important, even for those already vaccinated, is because health experts still aren't sure if vaccinated people are able to spread the virus. "We say that people who get vaccinated when they go out into the public, they should still wear a mask because it is conceivable that they will be infected, and because they're vaccinated, they won't get any symptoms," he explained. 

However, "they may be shedding virus from the nasopharynx," he pointed out. "Whether or not they are, is going to be determined by studies that are ongoing now. So as soon as we find out, which we might, I can't guarantee it, that people who were vaccinated, that they have a very low level of getting infected. And even when they do get infected without symptoms, that the level of virus in their nasopharynx is so low that they won't transmit it. But until then we should be wearing masks outside. Even when in fact we are vaccinated."

He clarifies that outside is defined as "when you go in the community." However, "if you're in a room inside with people who are not vaccinated, you should be wearing a mask," as well. 

He also warned that due to the highly transmissible new variants, it is just as important than ever to mask up and follow his fundamentals. "Now is not the time to pull back on public health measures. It is entirely understandable — I feel it myself: You want to get back to some form of normality; that will come relatively soon. … But the better we do with suppressing the virus, the quicker we'll get back to normal. What we don't want to do is to prematurely jump the gun and throw aside all public health measures," he said. 

RELATED: If You Feel This You May Have Already Had COVID Says Dr. Fauci

How to Stay Safe During This Pandemic

Follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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