Fauci says people should wear masks forever, even after vaccination

"I don't think you should be in a situation that if you're vaccinated, you don't ever have to worry about wearing a mask," Fauci said.

Updated: December 20, 2021 - 4:22pm

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Dr. Anthony Fauci thinks people should wear a mask — even if they are vaccinated — forever. 

Getting vaccinated and wearing a mask is "not an either/or," the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director told ABC's Jonathan Karl on Sunday. "You can do both and should do both."

Karl asked the chief White House medical adviser if he agreed with Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who decided not to reinstitute a state mask mandate despite climbing COVID-19 numbers.

While Fauci agreed with the governor that COVID-19 is becoming a "crisis of the unvaccinated," he still supports wearing a mask, even if a person is fully vaccinated.

"I don't think you should be in a situation that if you're vaccinated, you don't ever have to worry about wearing a mask," Fauci said. "Vaccinated or unvaccinated under certain circumstances, masks work in diminishing the likelihood that you are going to get infected or that if you are infected and without symptoms, that you're going to spread it to someone else."

Karl followed up asking about how President Joe Biden was in Kentucky and hugged community leaders while outside.

Fauci responded by emphasizing how wearing a mask indoors is far more important than outdoors.

Karl then changed the subject slightly to airplane requirements. Last week, the CEOs of American and Southwest airlines questioned the effectiveness of masks on airplanes during a congressional briefing.

"Are we going to get to the point where we won't have to wear masks on airplanes?" Karl asked.

"I don't think so," Fauci responded. "Even though you have a good filtration system, I still believe that masks are a prudent thing to do, and we should be doing it."

Earlier in the interview, he stated: "If you are vaccinated and boosted and are prudent when you travel, when you're in an airport, to be wearing a mask all the time. You have to be wearing a mask on a plane." 

However, Fauci encouraged people to only attend gatherings with others who are vaccinated.

"You know, we're in a war," Fauci said. "It's kind of like we're halfway through World War II."

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