Fauci says masks on planes will always be necessary no matter what: 'Go that extra step'
Fauci also said vaccinated individuals don't need to isolate after possible exposure
Dr. Anthony Fauci does not believe the pandemic will reach a state in which Americans can go without masks in closed spaces, even with good filtration.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly told a U.S. Senate panel on Wednesday that "masks don’t add much, if anything" in fighting the spread of COVID-19 on airplanes.
In a direct rebuke of Kelly’s comments, Fauci told ABC’s "This Week" that he doesn’t believe the pandemic will reach a state in which masks will be unnecessary – especially for closed spaces.
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When asked point blank if he thought there might be a point where masks are unnecessary on airplanes, he said "I don’t think so."
"I think when you're dealing with a closed space, even though the filtration is good that you want to go that extra step," Fauci argued. "When you have people, you know you get a flight from Washington to San Francisco, it's a well over a five hour flight."
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"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.
The question of indoor safety during the pandemic has come to the front again with Christmas only a week away and New Year’s shortly after that.
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Fauci did say on NBC’s "Meet the Press" that testing for vaccinated individuals don’t need to isolate in the event they come in contact with a COVID-infected individual.
"If you are vaccinated and you get exposed, you don’t need to isolate yourself," Fauci said. "Some people, and I think it would be prudent to wind up getting tested."
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He explained that testing just a few days later would help show whether a breakthrough infection occurred.
FOX Business's Breck Dumas contributed to this report.