Face Mask Policy Change: Dr. Anthony Fauci hinted that there could soon be changes to the COVID-19 health policy on face masks. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Top Story: Face Mask Policy Change
Natasha Anderson, writing for Fox8, reports: “Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, hinted that there could soon be changes to the COVID-19 health policy on face masks.
Interviewer Chuck Todd asked Fauci why people who get vaccinated need to continue wearing masks.
He responded, ‘This is something that, as we get more information, it’s going to be pulling back that you won’t have to.”
Here’s what both sides are saying about potential mask-policy adjustments:
On The Left
The left sees the need to maintain a public masking policy, both now and in the foreseeable future.
Dr. Megan Ranney writes in NBC News that “The pandemic has unequivocally proven the public health value of masks,” advocating they “should stick around in certain situations.” She acknowledges that she was once “very wrong about the value of public masking at the start of the pandemic” but “quickly learned that many of our assumptions that drove the early recommendations about public masking were, frankly, wrong.” Dr. Ranney anticipates “sporadic outbreaks of COVID-19 for years to come,” saying that “we should be willing to once again temporarily mask up, to keep our community safe until the outbreak can be tamped down.” She states that post-vaccination, “There will also always be groups of people who are not fully protected” such as the “immunocompromised” who “do not develop full immunity.” Due to this, Dr. Ranney sees a need to maintain “masking in crowded places” in order to “destigmatize protecting the vulnerable.”
On The Right
Conservatives see a population on the cusp of herd immunity due to a combination of natural exposure and vaccination, therefore they are urging an end to public masking in the very near future.
Dr. Nicole Saphier pushes to end masking in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. Once vaccinated, she says, “There’s almost no direct safety benefit—to yourself or others—of wearing a mask.” She criticizes Dr. Fauci for using an “unreasonably high” number to define herd immunity, ignoring millions with past exposure. She also cites a recent Danish study that found “Prior infection provides approximately 80% protection to patients younger than 65 and 47% protection to those older.” Dr. Saphier says a combination of prior immunity and vaccination means “we will likely [soon] surpass 50% combined immunity,” and with the vaccine now widely available, it is no longer reasonable to “expect others to accept infringements on their freedom as a precaution.” She ends by warning that “Public-health officials and politicians risk a public rebellion if they don’t start taking common sense into account and instead persist in labeling anyone who questions their decrees ‘antiscience.’”
Flag This: Face Mask Policy Change
Utah recently ended its statewide mask mandate. According to a new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll conducted in early April, 44% of Utahns wanted the mask mandate to continue, while “20% said the date was reasonable,” and 31% either believed the mandate should’ve ended sooner or never existed at all.