Photo Courtesy Prevention Magazine
Photo Courtesy Prevention Magazine

Now that over 35% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, public health officials say it’s time to start looking toward the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic—and rethinking when face masks are needed.

In a major update to its masking guidance—its most wide-ranging since first recommending the use of face coverings last year—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on May 13 that fully vaccinated people can go maskless in most uncrowded public places. Unvaccinated people, meanwhile, must continue wearing masks in most outdoor and all public indoor settings.

Certain states, like Texas, Florida, New Hampshire, and Iowa, have already repealed their mask mandates or allowed them to expire. But to bring masking to an end in the safest way possible, the vast majority of Americans will have to receive the COVID-19 vaccine first, according to the nation’s leading infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, M.D.

So, when will we realistically stop wearing face masks? And will they become the new normal during cold and flu season? Here’s what infectious disease experts know so far.

Read the full story at Prevention | Health.

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