WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that wearing masks on flights could be here indefinitely.
- Fauci believes vaccinated people can travel despite fears of the omicron variant.
- He warned travelers to be aware of the vaccination or COVID-19 test status of those around them.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that mask-wearing on flights could be here to stay.
The White House medical advisor made the comments ahead of holiday travels.
In an interview on ABC’s “This Week”, Fauci told Jonathan Karl that despite filtration systems on airplanes, it would be “prudent” for passengers to take the “extra step” within the enclosed space and wear a mask.
“I think when you’re dealing with a closed space, even though the filtration is good, that you want to go that extra step when you have people — you know, you get a flight from Washington to San Francisco, it’s well over a five-hour flight,” Fauci said, when asked he believed there would be a post pandemic point when passengers will not have to wear masks on flights.
“Even though you have a good filtration system, I still believe that masks are a prudent thing to do, and we should be doing it,” he added.
Fauci’s comments come after Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said that masks “don’t add much” given that “99.97% of airborne pathogens are captured” by highly efficient filtration systems.
“Yeah, I think the case is very strong that masks don’t add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment,” the airline executive said in response to whether maskless air travel could ever resume. “It’s very safe, and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting.”
Fauci assured vaccinated individuals that they could comfortably travel amid fears of the omicron variant. He cautioned travelers headed to gatherings with friends and family to be aware of the vaccination or COVID-19 test status of those around them.
“Do not do things like go to gatherings where there are people who you do not know what their vaccination status is,” Fauci said. “If you do that — and some people are even going the extra step or the extra mile of maybe even getting tested when you have people coming over the house.”
Source: The Hill