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Covid cases need to go ‘way down’ before vaccinated Americans can ditch masks indoors, says Fauci


Dr. Anthony Fauci has said Covid-19 cases would need to go ‘way down’ before vaccinated Americans can attend indoor public gatherings without wearing masks.

Fauci told CNN‘s State of the Union on Sunday that the virus was still spreading too rapidly throughout the country to consider changing recommendations on mask wearing. 

‘It’s about 95,000 [daily cases] as the seven-day average. That’s still way too high,’ the White House chief medical adviser said.

‘We want to get way, way down to… I mean, I like to see it well below 10,000 and even much lower than that,’ Fauci said when asked at what threshold the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) might ease rules on indoor mask wearing for vaccinated people. 

He added: ‘When you’re at 95,000 [cases per day], that’s still a situation where you have a high degree of dynamic circulation of virus in the community.’

Under current CDC recommendations state fully vaccinated Americans must wear masks indoors if in ‘an area of substantial or high transmission.’

The latest data puts more than 96 per cent of the current in an area of ‘substantial’ and ‘high’ transmission, the New York Post reported. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN ‘s State of the Union that the virus was still spreading too rapidly throughout the country to consider changing recommendations on mask wearing

Despite the CDC’s recommendations, federal government only requires masks to be worn on public transportation and in transport hubs like airports and bus stations.  

The CDC’s guidance on mask wearing changed in late July in response to the threat of the Delta variant.

From May 13 until the new recommendations were published on July 27, vaccinated Americans had been advised that it was safe to forgo wearing a mask indoors.

This was reversed, and new measures were also added, including that fully vaccinated people ‘may choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19’ or if they live with someone those descriptions apply to. 

The CDC continues to recommend ‘universal indoor masking’ for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status

In the same programme on Sunday, Fauci told American children to go out and enjoy trick-or-treating this Halloween.

‘This is a time children love,’ Fauci said. ‘It’s a very important time for children. I know my children enjoyed it.’

He encouraged participants to get vaccinated if possible. The vaccine is not available for children younger than 12 at present.

‘If you’re not vaccinated, think about [how by becoming so] you add an extra degree of protection to yourself and your children and your family and your community,’ he said. 

‘It’s a good time to reflect on why it’s important to get vaccinated, but go out there and enjoy Halloween as well as the other holidays that will be coming up.’ 

Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN's Dana Bash that children should go out 'and enjoy Halloween'

Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN’s Dana Bash that children should go out ‘and enjoy Halloween’

He encouraged participants to get vaccinated, despite kids under 12 being ineligible for it

He encouraged participants to get vaccinated, despite kids under 12 being ineligible for it

Discussing outdoor mask-wearing, Fauci urged all Americans – even those who’ve had vaccines – to don face-coverings in crowded outdoor settings.

He explained: ‘When you have a lot of infection in the community, even though you’re vaccinated, when you are not home but outside in congregate settings in the public, wearing masks, I think would be very prudent.’

And the White House COVID tsar also revealed he thinks COVID deaths will continue to trend down this winter, as the Delta surge eases, sparking hopes the virus may finally be on the retreat.  

Fauci was mocked on social media for giving children ‘permission’ to participate in the annual candy-gathering tradition.

‘OH THANK YOU DEAR GOD EMPEROR FOR GRANTING US THIS HOLIDAY,’ one person tweeted.

‘Lol. Lord Fauci speaks,’ added another. ‘We can have Halloween but Thanksgiving/ Christmas he’s not sure about.’

Some Twitter users mocked Fauci for giving them 'permission to celebrate the holiday

Some Twitter users mocked Fauci for giving them ‘permission to celebrate the holiday

Fauci earlier this month encouraged vaccinated people to celebrate the winter holidays with their loved ones, despite having previously said it was ‘too soon’ to say whether Americans could gather for Christmas.

Just one day later, in an appearance on CNN , the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases said his comments were ‘misinterpreted’ and that he was not telling people to forego family gatherings.

Another Twitter user noted that Fauci was encouraging children to stock up on unhealthy candy, and questioned said he was enabling ‘poor health’.

Some Halloween celebrations were cancelled last year, with popular events across the nation scrapped or modified to adhere to social distancing requirements.

CDC director Rochelle Walensky has also given the greenlight for candy collecting.

‘I wouldn’t necessarily go to a crowded Halloween party, but I think that we should be able to let our kids go tricking in small groups,’ she told CBS’ Face the Nation.

Fauci did not offer face covering guidance for trick-or-treaters (pictured here in a 2020 photo)

Fauci did not offer face covering guidance for trick-or-treaters (pictured here in a 2020 photo)

The Food and Drug Administration plans a meeting in late October to consider Pfizer’s request for emergency use authorization of its vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

Nationwide, there are about 95,000 new COVID-19 cases a day; Fauci called the downward trend ‘good news’ but cautioned against declaring a premature victory.

‘We still have around 68 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated, that have not yet gotten vaccinated, and even those who have been vaccinated … want to look forward to holiday seasons and spending time with your family and doing those sorts of things,’ Fauci said.

‘But don’t just throw your hands up and say it’s all over, because on one hand, we do want to celebrate and look forward to the fact that we are going in the right direction. But if you look at the history of the surges, they can bounce back.’



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