Health

Fauci, COVID Enthusiasts Again Pushing Masking On Americans

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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Dr. Anthony Fauci and other leaders in the public health establishment are reiterating calls for Americans to mask up and take further precautions against COVID-19.

Fauci is recommending Americans once again wear masks in indoor settings, and some local health authorities are moving to implement mandates. They’ve cited the BA.5 Omicron variant of the coronavirus as a significant new threat, despite the fact that deaths from the virus remain at one of the lowest levels of the entire pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“We’re not talking mandating anything,” Fauci said in an interview with MSNBC this week, instead “recommending people when they are in indoor congregate settings to wear a mask.”

“Those are simple, doable things that can help prevent us from having even more of a problem than we’re having right now.”

Los Angeles County is poised to bring back its mask mandate at the end of July, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer warned this week. LA County just entered the CDC’s “high-risk” tier of localities based on transmission and hospitalization levels, and Ferrer has said an indoor mask mandate will go into effect if the country remains there for two consecutive weeks.

Earlier this month, New York City went back to recommending mask wearing in indoor settings, although it remains unclear if a mandate will return. It, too, entered the CDC’s high-risk tier based on infections and hospitalizations. (RELATED: Fauci Admits Fight Over Travel Mask Mandate Is All About Hoarding Power)

In the Pacific Northwest, King County, home to Seattle, is also considering returning to mandatory masking.

“We are in active discussions about if and when to re-issuing any mask mandate,” Public Health Officer Jeff Duchin said Thursday. “It’s not an easy question because things change over time. For example, if we were seeing a level of severity of illness that we saw before people were as well-vaccinated as they are now, or during the delta surge, I think we would be moving more quickly to such measures as a mask mandate.”

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is still recommending people wear masks on public transit and airplanes, and is fighting in court to bring back that mandate.