In his first interview since the mask guidance update Fauci told CNN he ‘wouldn’t go so far as to say [the pandemic] is essentially over’, adding: ‘I think this is a very important step in the direction of trying to get back to some degree of normality.
‘So, I wouldn’t want to declare victory prematurely, but I’m saying this is clearly a step in the direction that we want to go,’ he added.
Asked if children needed to continue wearing masks to protect against COVID-19 Fauci said: ‘The children do when they are out there playing with their friends, particularly in an indoor situation, they do.’
His recommendation comes even after a study released this week found that nearly three quarters of infected children will never develop typical COVID symptoms like fevers or coughs. Kids are also believed to not spread the virus as easily as adults.
Fauci did say there are studies now in an age de-escalation ‘from 12 to nine, nine to six, six to two and then six months to two years so that we will be able hopefully by the end of the year to be able to vaccinate children of any age’.
Fauci gave his first interview since the mask guidance update on Thursday. He told CNN he ‘wouldn’t want to declare victory prematurely’ and it’s not over
Elizabeth Brauer (C) holds the hand of her son Luke Brauer, 13, before he receives a Covid-19 vaccination at the Fairfax Government Center vaccination clinic in Fairfax, Virginia
‘I would certainly think that would be an option if the children are vaccinated not to have a mask,’ Fauci later added.
He also noted children as young as 12 are now eligible to get Pfizer’s shot, telling Jake Tapper: ‘One of the things that is also important that has happened most recently is the approval of vaccines for children 12-15 years old.
‘And we are also doing studies now in an age de-escalation so that we will be able hopefully by the end of the year to be able to vaccinate children of any age.
‘Right now the 12 to 15 year old are eligible to get vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. So that’s another good news story.’
To-date, more than 118 million Americans are fully vaccinated, accounting for just over a third of the U.S. population, and 45 percent of adults have had at least one dose.
Cases are falling fast, down to a seven-day-average of 38,000 or 11 per 100,000.
Fully-vaccinated Americans can finally stop wearing their masks almost anywhere – indoors or outdoors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Thursday
Asked if parents should continue putting their children in masks Fauci said: ‘The children do when they are out there playing with their friends, particularly in an indoor situation, they do’
Fully-vaccinated Americans can finally stop wearing their masks almost anywhere – indoors or outdoors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Thursday.
Fauci said it is now important to get schools reopen ‘full blast’, adding that they should be five days a week and in person learning. He said: ‘We really have to do that by the time we get to the fall.’
Asked if grocery stores and pharmacies should allow people in without masks, Fauci replied ‘absolutely’.
Andrew Cuomo says New York is NOT yet ready to ditch the face masks – and California’s governor Newsom says the same
He said the state’s mask mandate would remain in place for now.
‘In New York, we have always relied on the facts and the science to guide us throughout the worst of this pandemic and in our successful reopening,’ Cuomo said.
Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, is yet to lift the state’s mask mandate
The Centers for Disease Control and Protection on Thursday announced that they were updating their guidelines, and people who were fully vaccinated no longer needed to wear masks indoors and out, under most circumstances.
The White House can order face masks be worn on federal property, but elsewhere it is up to state governors to decide. In general, the American Constitution Society said, courts uphold states’ rights to enforce their own face mask mandate or get rid of it, as they see fit.
He said that he and the state’s health commissioner, Howard Zucker, were still assessing the new guidance.
‘We have received the newly revised guidance from the CDC regarding mask wearing and social distancing for those with vaccinations and are reviewing them in consultation with Dr. Zucker and our partners and health experts in surrounding states,’ Cuomo said.
He didn’t say when the state might update its guidance.
That means masks still are required in New York state when a person can’t maintain six feet of social distance – even outside and even if the person is vaccinated. It’s not clear if the rule will be enforced.
The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has issued a similar statement, even though people were seen on the streets of Los Angeles celebrating the end of the mask order and had apparently not gotten the message from their governor.
Their approach stands in contrast to the celebratory tone from the CDC and the White House.
But he did acknowledge the judgement call on that for businesses will ‘be a real difficult one’, adding: ‘People feel very put upon if you’re essentially judging them on the basis of whether they have been vaccinated.
‘We want vaccinated – we want people to get vaccinated – as many people as we can possibly get vaccinated, but I think there’s going to be a pushback against questioning somebody when they walk in, because you can never validate or prove that they’re telling you the truth.’
However, the CDC’s recommendation is just that – an unenforceable recommendation. States, cities and businesses can still require masks.
And in discussing individual states ending their mask mandates Fauci acknowledged: ‘The problem they’re going to find, Jake, from a public health standpoint, since you can’t completely validate that someone’s vaccinated except depending upon them telling you that, if you drop the mask mandate, then you might have an increase in infection among those who are not vaccinated.
‘So that’s the kind of dicey situation that you’re in when you’re trying to deal about policy at the local level when you have a high degree of transmission. That’s not an easy decision to make.’
Those who have finished their shot regimen can now go out to eat, see a movie, shake hands and give hugs at will, according to the new guidance.
The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but could ease restrictions for reopening workplaces and schools.
People who are fully vaccinated but immunocompromised people may still be advised by their doctors to keep masking.
Even President Biden – along with several lawmakers meeting him to discuss infrastructure in the Oval Office – stripped off his mask upon the news, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a Democrat from New York, told the Guardian.
The office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said its health department is reviewing the new guidelines, but has not issued an official update.
Equinox Gym notified members Thursday afternoon that masks are still required while working out at its New York gyms.
The White House officially lifted its mandate requiring masks on the premise, allowing staffers and journalists on Thursday to uncover their faces on for the first time since Biden took office.
‘Today is a great day for America,’ Biden said in an afternoon press conference, as he declared the new guidance a ‘great milestone.’
The ability for vaccinated Americans to unmask comes as a product of enough people being vaccinated to start to peel back other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
As vaccination has become widespread, scientists in the U.S. – and especially in Israel – have had a chance to see real-world proof that the shots prevent almost all transmission.
What’s more, as vaccination rates have risen, President Biden noted that average daily COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have fallen to their lowest level since April 2020 – just after the pandemic took hold in the U.S. – falling to 586 a day, according to CDC data.
‘Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in activities indoors or outdoors, large or small, without physical distancing,’ announced CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky during a Friday White House press briefing, she said, praising the rapid vaccination effort for allowing masks to come off, and Covid cases to stay down.
To-date, more than 118 million Americans are fully vaccinated, accounting for just over a third of the U.S. population, and 45 percent of adults have had at least one dose
The Biden administration have faced pressure to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated people – people who are two weeks past their last required COVID-19 vaccine dose – in part to highlight the benefits of getting the shot.
The CDC’s new guidance also comes two weeks after the agency recommended that fully vaccinated people continue to wear masks indoors in all settings and outdoors in large crowds
America unmasks: Joe and Kamala take all the credit as they finally announce it’s time to ditch the masks, shake hands and even HUG each other if you’ve had your shots
President Joe Biden told Americans who have their full COVID vaccine to remove their face masks and his wife Jill, visiting West Virginia, did just that.
‘If you’re fully vaccinated, take your mask off. You’ve earned the right to do something that Americans are known for all around the world, greeting others with a smile,’ President Biden said during remarks in the White House Rose Garden.
And a maskless first lady was all smiles when she stepped off her plane in Charleston, W. Va., on Thursday, one of the first to appear in public without a face covering after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced their new guidelines.
Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden go without their face masks in the Rose Garden of the White House after new CDC guidelines were announced
Actress Jennifer Garner greeted Dr. Biden. She had a face mask on but took hers off when she saw the situation.
The mood was jovial with the maskless duo chatting excitingly on the tarmac.
Back at the White House, President Biden took the credit for bringing the virus under control.
He said: ‘I think it’s a great milestone, a great day. It’s been made possible by the extraordinary success we have had in vaccinating so many Americans, so quickly.
‘Over the past 114 days, our vaccination program has led the world and that’s due to the incredible hard work of so many people.
HOW AMERICA FLIP-FLOPPED ON FACE MASKS FOR COVID-19
DECEMBER 31 2019: Officials in Wuhan, in China’s Hubei Province identify a cluster of pneumonia cases from an unknown cause.
JANUARY 12 2020: China shares genetic sequence of a new virus, later named SARS-NoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19.
JANUARY 21 2020: CDC confirms first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. in a man in his 30s who returned to Washington state from China.
FEBRUARY 12 2020: CDC tells Americans it does not recommend masks.
At the time, there were just 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., and officials that day confirmed the first death.
‘At this time, some partners are reporting higher than usual demand for select N95 respirators and face masks. CDC does not currently recommend the use of face masks for the general public. This virus is not spreading in the community,’ said then-director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Dr Nancy Messonnier.
The CDC did say that people who were sick with possible COVID-19 or in close contact with someone who might have it should wear a mask when around others.
MARCH 2020: Federal officials at the CDC, Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Surgeon General all said that while the U.S. should brace for the spread of coronavirus, Americans should not wear them if they were not sick with suspected Covid or around someone who might be infected.
Experts said that surgical and cloth masks were not tightly woven enough to reduce the spread of the tiny virus and that people didn’t know how to properly use them.
And they continued to urge Americans not to buy up high-grade N95 masks in order to preserve them for health care workers who might be in contact with COVID-19 patients.
Masks were already being bought up, and former President Trump used the Defense Production Act to obtain N95s from M3 to bolster supplies for health care workers.
APRIL 3 2020: CDC officially recommends all Americans wear cloth masks in public voluntarily.
Former President Trump announced the guidelines, but said he would not wear one. He would not e seen wearing a mask until July 11.
APRIL 10 2020: Masks became extremely hard to find as Americans bought up massive supplies of them and shipments from china, where mot were made, were cut off.
APRIL 17 2020: Five states – New Jersey, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland and New York, had all mandated masks in public by this date.
JUNE 8 2020: The WHO, which had also urged people not to buy masks to preserve supply for medical workers, finally recommended people wear masks in public.
JULY 11 2020: Former President Trump was seen wearing a face mask for the first time while visiting wounded warriors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, DC. More than 20 states already had mask mandates in place.
JANUARY 20 2021: President Biden issued a mask mandate for all federal property.
JANUARY 31 2021: TSA issues a mask mandate for all federally operated mass transit, including buses, trains, train stations, airplanes and airports.
APRIL 6 2021: CDC updates guidance to say that wearing two masks, such as a cloth mask over a surgical one, may offer up to 95 percent better protection than wearing two – almost exactly one year after it made its first mask recommendation.
APRIL 20 2021: CDC updates its guidelines to say that fully vaccinated Americans can safely exercise and gather with vaccinated and unvaccinated people outdoors – but should still wear a mask indoors if they are around vaccinated people or when in crowded outdoor settings like concerts.
MAY 13 2021: CDC updates its guidelines again to say that fully vaccinated Americans can go without masks indoors or outdoors, in large or small groups, except in crowded indoor locations like planes, buses and prisons, or in places with specific measures like hospitals.
‘The scientists and researchers, the drug companies, the National Guard, the US Military, FEMA, the nation’s governors, doctors, nurses, pharmacists. Everyone who has moved heaven and Earth to get as many shots in
President Biden tempered his delight at the new rules with words of caution.
‘We’ve gotten this far. Please protect yourself until you get to the finish line. Because as great as this announcement is today. We don’t want to let up,’ he said.
‘The rule is very simple. Get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do is vaccinated,’ he added.
He also noted there would be no enforcement, addressing concerns of some they may have to prove their vaccinated status.
‘We’re not going to go out and arrest people,’ Biden said. ‘If you’ve been vaccinated you don’t wear your mask, and they can shake hands and give each other a hug. But if you’ve not been vaccinated. Please wear a mask. Please wear the mask.’
On Thursday the CDC announced that most fully-vaccinated Americans can stop wearing their masks almost anywhere – indoors or outdoors.
The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters but is meant to help get vaccinated Americans back to their normal lives.
The Biden administration faced pressure to ease up on restrictions as more than 108 million Americans have been fully vaccinated. It’s also hoped the new guidelines will coax those reluctant to get their second dose or to get inoculated at all to get the vaccine.
White House aides were in the Rose Garden maskless, including chief of staff Ron Klain, senior adviser Anita Dunn, and press secretary Jen Psaki.
Other White House staff tweeted their excitement at being able to see colleagues without a face covering.
And Vice President Kamala Harris, standing out in the Rose Garden without a mask, greeted the president upon his arrival with: ‘You’ve got a great smile.’
Thursday started out like the past 15 months have gone. President Biden wore a face mask in the Oval Office when he met with Republican senators on infrastructure.
Jill Biden, dressed in a white dress with a pink blazer over it, wore a pink face mask mask when she departed Washington D.C. earlier in the day.
But she was happy to remove it.
‘We feel naked,’ the first lady said about not wearing one. Then she paused. ‘I didn’t mean it that way!’
She also joked she learned about the new rule during the flight – and after she had bought a mask that matched her outfit.
‘We just learned as we got off the plane,’ she said of new mask guidance. ‘And here I had gone out to buy one that was coordinated with my outfit so you can’t win.’
But the first lady was gleeful about the chance to go maskless.
‘Now, the clouds are finally breaking. Spring’s more beautiful than ever. And the best is yet to come,’ she said. ‘Let’s have some fun.’
Garner, meanwhile, revealed two of her three kids with actor Ben Affleck will get vaccinated on Friday. Children 12 and older can receive the Pfizer vaccine, according to CDC guidelines. There are about 17 million children between the ages of 12 and 15 in the United States, which is about 5 percent of the population.
‘I am thrilled to be vaccinating, two of my three kids on Tuesday,’ she said. ‘I don’t even know if they know it yet.’
Garner, who had her parents with her, praised the Biden administration for being able to go maskless.
‘It’s so exciting I kind of can’t believe that I’m standing here without a mask on looking at maskless faces, and we owe that to President Biden,’ Garner said.
‘Biden said he would get us vaccinated. Boy, did he mean it,’ she added.
Garner, a West Virginia native, served on the board of Save the Children with Dr. Jill Biden and campaigned for Joe Biden during the 2020 campaign.
She and Biden spent several minutes talking animatedly at the airport – waving their hands at each other – before posing for a round of photos. Two local students gave each woman a bouquet of flowers.
Mark Shriver, the president of Save the Children Action Network, an organization that provides resources to low-income families, also was at the airport. Jill Biden gave him an elbow bump.
Biden also was accompanied by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and his wife, Gayle as the White House woos the West Virginia senator on its legislative agenda.
The East Wing invited Manchin because it is his home state, and he accepted the invitation, according to Jill Biden spokesman Michael LaRosa.
The group went to Capital High to visit a vaccination clinic for students age 12 – 15, where a group of junior ROTC officers greeted them upon their arrival.
‘I know you just want to see Jennifer Garner,’ Biden joked with them.
‘They’ve seen me their whole lives!’ ‘Garner exclaimed. ‘Thank you for your service, kids.’
At the vaccination clinic in the school gym, Biden held the hand of a teenager getting vaccinated, and then asked the girl if she knows Garner.
‘Yes I love all of your movies,’ the girl said. Garner congratulated her on getting vaccinated, and spent several minutes talking with her.
Manchin touted the new guidelines and what they mean for his state during the stop.
‘You’ve all seen the latest from the CDC? That means no masks inside or outside,’ Manchin said.
He said ‘it means get vaccinated. We feel free!’
Actress Jennifer Garner greets first lady Jill Biden in Charleston, W.Va.; the two women followed new CDC guidelines and went maskless
Garner also teased Manchin about his moderate reputation in the Senate where he has voted with both Democrats and Republicans.
‘We have a lot of work ahead to get everyone to get COVID crushed and to get our little kids in school ready to learn. I’m looking forward to working with Republicans, Democrats, and even Senator Manchin,’ she said. ‘I’m teasing you. That’s a little Manchin joke.’
And Jill Biden thanked him and his wife Gayle for their friendship to the Bidens.
‘Senator Manchin, you know you’ve been a champion for West Virginia, and you’ve always found ways to bring people together, and your integrity and commitment to this state is steadfast. And Joe and I are so grateful to you and to Gayle for the friendship that we built over – I don’t even know how many years it’s been, but it’s been a long time. So thank you very much,’ she said.
Manchin, a moderate senator, is a key vote for Democrats in the 50-50 Senate. President Joe Biden will need his support on his two massive legislative packages – his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan – with its focus on infrastructure – and his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan with its focus on social programs.
He told reporters in West Virginia that ‘the president and I had a very very good meeting’ at the White House on Monday. He said that the amount of the infrastructure package was not his main issue.
‘We’re gonna find out what the needs are,’ he said.