Fauci and Kansas City area doctors say wearing masks could become seasonal to prevent illnesses

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As COVID-19 vaccinations increase and restrictions become more relaxed, many people are eager to get rid of the masks that have been a staple in American life for more than a year.

Sunday on “Meet the Press,” White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “I think people have gotten used to the fact that wearing masks, clearly diminishes respiratory diseases.”

Fauci advised that mask wearing could become seasonal because of how effective it has been against other illnesses like the flu. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between Oct. 1 and Jan. 30, only 155 people in the United States have been hospitalized with the flu. That’s a 98% decrease from the same window of time in the 2019-2020 flu season. 

Local doctors say the data supports the suggestion. 

“Certainly, reduces the spread of several types of infections and overall. It’s probably a little bit better for everyone’s health as a community as well,“ said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, with the University of Kansas Health System.

Fauci said if we stay the course, by July 4, we could put the risk of an outbreak behind us.

“If we get, which we will, to the goals that the president has established, you may see blips. But if we handle them well, it is unlikely that you will see the kind of surge that we saw late fall and early winter,” Fauci said.

Hawkinson said a roadblock to that destination is COVID-19 fatigue. However, it can be circumvented.

“We are all fatigued but we also still have to understand that we can make these decisions. We are adults, we all know what the best thing to do is,“ Hawkinson said. 

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