- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 10, 2022

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Sunday that indoor mask mandates might have to be reimposed if COVID-19 cases begin to rise because of the new BA.2 variant of the coronavirus. 

Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC’s “This Week” that federal officials are closely monitoring the rise and the severity of the new variant. 

“If you look at the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] with their new metrics, it’s clear that most of the country, even though we’re seeing an uptick, is still in that green zone, which means that masking is not recommended in the sense of not required in indoor settings,” he said. 

Dr. Fauci warned that could quickly change, depending on whether COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths increase. 

“The new [CDC] metrics looking at the guidance of masking … [say] that if we do start seeing an uptick, particularly of hospitalizations, we may need to revert back to being more careful and having more utilizations of masks indoors,” he said. “But right now we’re watching it very, very carefully.” 

Health officials noted that the new BA.2 variant is roughly 50% more transmissible than previous versions of the virus. Due to the new variant infection rates are increasing in large metropolitan areas, including Washington and New York City.  

Overall, U.S. cases continue to remain at their lowest levels since last summer — about 30,000 a day.

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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