Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser for President Biden on the novel coronavirus, failed to rule out double masking - even after getting vaccinated - during an appearance Tuesday on America's Newsroom.
Co-anchor Dana Perino asked Fauci for his thoughts on double masking, or the practice of wearing two masks at once, asking whether it would be necessary after receiving the vaccination for the Chinese coronavirus. Fauci, who appeared to express support for double masking this week, failed to rule it out.
"You know, we have to be really careful because we do know that the primary endpoint of the vaccine trials that show the 94 to 95 percent efficacy was really based on clinically apparent disease," Fauci said, contending that experts do not yet know whether the vaccine "protects against infections so that people who can be vaccinated and feel very well and have no clinically apparent disease could still have virus in their nasal fairings because they got infected but they did not get any symptoms."
Fauci then listed a "couple" of reasons to continue to wear a mask after receiving a vaccination, explaining that it could protect other people as the vaccinated individual could still have the virus in their nasal fairings. Fauci added that the U.S. should not pull back on public health measures until the vast majority of the population is vaccinated. He said that it will take "several months" to get the bulk of the population vaccinated but said availability for people in any category will likely come by April:
And just to be doubly sure, there are a couple of reasons to wear masks even after vaccination. One, you want to protect other people in case you have virus in your nasal fairings, and if you look in the community, there's enough virus out there that before we start pulling back on things like public health measures, you want the overwhelming population vaccinated. And as I've said, the calculation - even though it's still an estimate - would be somewhere between 70 and 85 percent of the population.
"It's tough for people to think about light at the end of the tunnel with that," Perino remarked before moving on.
Fauci briefly spoke about double masking during a Monday appearance on Today as well and appeared to support the idea, telling Savannah Guthrie that the practice "likely does" make a difference.
"You know, it likely does because I mean this is a physical covering to prevent droplets and virus to get in," Fauci said.
"So if you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it would likely be more effective and that's the reason why you see people either double masking or doing a version of an N95," he added:
Others, including the New York Times, have promoted double masking in recent days.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director did not feel as strongly about the efficacy of masks at the start of the pandemic, suggesting in a 60 Minutes interview last March that masks, in some ways, offer more psychological relief.
"Right now, people should not be walking, there's no reason to be walking around with a mask," Fauci said in the March interview.
"When you're in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it's not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is," he continued, warning of the "unintended consequences."
"People keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face," he added:
Fauci backtracked months later, contending that he and other experts "acted on the information" they had at the time.
As of January 25, the U.S. reported 25,018,520 cumulative cases of the virus, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) data. Last year, the CDC published a study largely overlooked by the establishment media, which suggested that "cloth face coverings or masks are mostly ineffective in preventing the spread of the Chinese coronavirus as promoted by public health officials," as Breitbart News reported.
The study revealed that 85 percent of the participants of the study "contracted the virus even after either always (71 percent) or often (14 percent) wearing a face covering or mask" at least two weeks before falling ill.