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CDC could consider relaxing guidance on face masks indoors

High vaccination rate key to avoiding spike in cases, Dr. Anthony Fauci says
Face coverings required sign at CVS on May 8, 2021
Posted at 12:54 PM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 13:40:18-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Federal guidance on wearing face masks indoors may soon change.

During an appearance Sunday on ABC News, Dr. Anthony Fauci said as the number of people receiving vaccinations increases, the country could relax restrictions on face masks inside buildings.


"The CDC will be updating their recommendations and their guidelines," Fauci said. "We do need to start being more liberal as we get more people vaccinated."

During a Sunday appearance on NBC's "Meet The Press," Fauci said President Joe Biden's goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the population by the Fourth of July is attainable.

He said a high vaccination rate will be key to avoiding a spike in cases later this year.

"It's unlikely that you'll see the kind of surge we saw in the late fall and early winter," Fauci told NBC's Chuck Todd. "That's the reason ... why we plead with people to get vaccinated because the larger proportion of the population that's vaccinated, the less likelihood that in a coming season like the fall or winter you're going to see a significant surge."

The nation's health protection agency has been updating face mask and travel guidance on a regular basis based on coronavirus cases and more people becoming vaccinated.

Disney World masked visitors
Guests wear required face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic on Main Street, U.S.A. in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort's Magic Kingdom on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Last month the CDC announced that people who are fully vaccinated can attend small outdoor gatherings or dine at an outdoor restaurant without face coverings.

The latest figures from the CDC show that more than 152 million Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or 45 percent of the population.

Data released Sunday from the Florida Department of Health shows that 9.2 million Florida residents have been vaccinated.

After showing a high pace for demand earlier this year, interest to receive that vaccine has become tepid as some Americans continue to show skepticism and hesitancy.

This has prompted some agencies, including the Palm Beach County government, to consider incentives to get more people vaccinated.

The State University System of Florida announced last week that all public universities "expect to increase classroom occupancy to pre-COVID capacity" when the new school year starts in the fall.

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are currently at their lowest levels since last fall.