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Face masks may become seasonal after Covid pandemic: Fauci

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Washington, May 10 (IANS) Wearing face masks may become seasonal when respiratory illnesses are more prevalent, says US top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Fauci said he thinks people have gotten used to wearing face masks, the CNBC reported on Sunday citing the White House chief medical adviser’s interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press”.

“Clearly if you look at the data it diminishes respiratory diseases, we’ve had practically a non-existent flu season this year merely because people were doing the kinds of public health things that were directed predominantly against Covid-19,” Fauci, was quoted as saying.

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“So 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 added.

According to the current guidance from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, fully vaccinated people can exercise and hold small gatherings outdoors without a mask. However, the agency still recommends wearing a mask when in crowded areas, even after full vaccination.

Last week, Fauci said that it may be time to start relaxing indoor mask requirements.

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“We do need to start being more liberal, as we get more people vaccinated,” Fauci was quoted as saying to ABC’s “This Week.” The US probably will be back to normal by next Mother’s Day, if enough people get vaccinated against Covid-19, Fauci said.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, also said that indoor public health measures should also be relaxed in states where Coronavirus infections are low and vaccination rates are high.

“We are at the point right now where we can and start lifting these ordinances and allowing people to resume normal activity. Certainly, outdoors, we should not be putting limits on gatherings anymore and we should be encouraging people to go outside,” the CNBC quoted Gottlieb, as saying on CBS Sunday programme “Face the Nation”.

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“Covid won’t disappear, we are going to have to learn to live with it but the risks have substantially reduced as a result of vaccination and as a result of immunity that people have acquired through prior infection,” Gottlieb said.

–IANS

rvt/in

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