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

Here's when you can regain a bit of normality.

It's OK to remove your face mask if you've been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and you're around people who've also been fully vaccinated, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert. The CDC is preparing guidance on what fully vaccinated people can do safely; it may be released as early as today. Politico reported that draft guidelines urge Americans to limit their social interactions to small gatherings at home with other fully vaccinated people, and to continue with other public-health measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing in public. Read on to see exactly what he says—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

After Getting Vaccinated, You Can Be "More Liberal" Around Other Vaccinated People at Home

"If you are vaccinated, and you are with someone who's vaccinated, the things that you can do are much, much more liberal in the sense of pulling back on stringent public health measures, versus when you're out in society," said Fauci on MSNBC last month. 

On Monday, Fauci and CDC director Rochelle Walensky previewed the coming guidelines during a press conference. "I use the example of a daughter coming in from out of town who is doubly vaccinated, and a husband and wife doubly vaccinated, and maybe a next-door neighbor who you know are doubly vaccinated," said Fauci."Small gatherings in the home of people, I think you can clearly feel that the risk — the relative risk is so low that you would not have to wear a mask, that you could have a good social gathering within the home."

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Fauci Says be Careful in These Scenarios 

In recent weeks, Fauci has urged caution when socializing with someone whose vaccine status doesn't match your own. For example: a vaccinated grandparent visiting unvaccinated family members. "Grandma could still get virus in her nasopharynx, even though the vaccine is preventing her from getting physically ill," and she could transmit the virus to unvaccinated people, he said.

Recently Fauci told WRC-TV about how his life has changed after getting both doses of the vaccine. He now invites vaccinated guests over to his house, but he's still cautious. "If we have someone in the house that would be a non-occupant of the house, it's somebody that we know has either been vaccinated or tests themselves very, very frequently," he said. "So we're still very careful."

But Fauci said he's still not dining indoors at restaurants—he's sticking with takeout for the moment—and is not traveling by airplane "for a number of reasons," he said. "I'm at the age that is still at a pretty high risk" for severe COVID, Fauci said, so resuming air travel is "not going to be like a light switch that you turn on and off."

And Fauci still wears a mask in public. "I have not really changed much in my public health measures that I abide by," he said.

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

How to Survive this Pandemic

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, 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 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more about Michael
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