The change in guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over wearing masks is due to the latest surge in coronavirus cases amid the Delta variant spreading in the United States and is not a flip-flop in policy, President Joe Biden’s chief medial adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday.
The CDC announced on Tuesday that in areas with substantial and high transmission, it now recommends that fully vaccinated people wear masks in public, indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and protect others, Mediaite reported.
Fauci told MSNBC that “even though two months ago the CDC came out with the recommendation that individuals who are vaccinated do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors, something has changed. What has changed is the virus. The CDC hasn’t changed. The CDC hasn’t really flipped-flopped.”
He explained that “what’s happened is that when that earlier recommendation was made dealing predominantly with the Alpha variant … it would be extremely unlikely that a vaccinated person who happened to get infected … that they would transmit.”
But Facui stressed that “now, we are dealing with the delta variant, which is really quite a lot more transmissible than the Alpha variant.”
He added that another reason for the new CDC guidelines is that “the data are clear, the most recent data, that when a person gets infected who has been vaccinated, namely a breakthrough infection, and they get infected with the Delta variant, that the level of virus in their nasopharynx is about a thousand times higher than with the Alpha variant.”
Fauci pointed out that the easiest way to reduce the need for unpopular restrictions is to get many more people in the country vaccinated.
He emphasized that “if we can get 80-85% of the population vaccinated, that is going have a profound beneficial effect in the sense of really nailing down this outbreak, because if you get that amount of people vaccinated, together with the people who have already been infected, you’re really going to restrict the ability of that virus to spread around.”
He added that an additional danger “is that as long as you get a lot of circulation among unvaccinated people, you give the virus a chance to mutate even more, so that you may get a variant that’s worse than the Delta variant that even the vaccinated people may not be able to handle.”
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