Dr. Anthony Fauci is trying to clear up what he says is a misinterpretation of new mask-wearing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
During an event with Axios, the infectious disease expert said, “I think people are misinterpreting, thinking that this is a removal of a mask mandate for everyone. It’s not.”
“It’s an assurance to those who are vaccinated that they can feel safe, be they outdoors or indoors,” he added.
He explained, “People either read them quickly, or listen and hear half of it. They are feeling that we’re saying: ‘You don’t need the mask anymore.’ That’s not what the CDC said. They said: If you are vaccinated, you can feel safe — that you will not get infected either outdoors or indoors. It did not explicitly say that unvaccinated people should abandon their masks.”
On Thursday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced the new guidance saying, “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing.”
“If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy. This is an exciting and powerful moment, it could only happen because of the work of so many who made sure we have the rapid administration of three safe and effective vaccines,” she added.
The new guidance comes as the CDC says more than 124 million Americans, or about 37.5% of the population, have been fully vaccinated.
In light of the new guidance, several states and businesses have said they will drop their mask mandates for fully vaccinated people.
The U.S. is currently averaging 31,149 new cases of the coronavirus per day, a 35% decrease from the previous two weeks.
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