White House senior medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci conceded Tuesday that his wearing masks indoors after vaccination was more about projecting a specific image than about following science.
Fauci spoke with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to discuss the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s abrupt decision to reverse course, no longer recommending that fully vaccinated people wear masks whether indoors or outside. (RELATED: ‘I Still Feel Judged’: Gayle King Asks Dr. Fauci Why More Experts Aren’t Clear About When The Masks Can Come Off)
“OK, let’s talk about the lifting of the mask mandates that we’re seeing in many states like here in New York. Other states are not ready to do that. Is the CDC basically saying whichever choice a state makes is fine?” Stephanopoulos asked.
Fauci said that while those who were vaccinated should not be worried about moving about without masks, the issue was that there was no real way to be certain who was vaccinated and who was not.
“I think that’s where the confusion arises because there are some establishments who are saying, ‘Well, I’m going to have people coming into my establishment, my store or what have you, some are going to be vaccinated and some are not. I’m not going to know the difference, some might be infected and might actually have a risk of infecting someone else and under those circumstances,’ it’s perfectly reasonable and understandable for the owner of that establishment to say, you know, we’re going to keep the mask mandate up and that’s what we’re seeing and I think that’s causing the confusion because some are maintaining a mask mandate and others are not,” Fauci explained.
“How has it changed what you do? How it changed your mask wearing practices?” Stephanopoulos pressed.
“Well, you know, George, I’m obviously careful because I mean I’m a physician and a health care provider. I am now much more comfortable in people seeing me indoors without a mask,” Fauci said, going on to say that he had initially kept the mask on — despite being fully vaccinated – in order to set a visual example.
“I mean, before the CDC made the recommendation change, I didn’t want to look like I was giving mixed signals but being a fully vaccinated person, the chances of my getting infected in an indoor setting is extremely low and that’s the reason why in indoor settings now I feel comfortable about not wearing a mask because I’m fully vaccinated,” Fauci concluded.