Fauci says vaccinated people 'don't have to wear a mask outside'
Fauci's comments come days after CDC was accused of exaggerating the risk of outdoor coronavirus transmission
People who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus "don’t have to wear a mask outside," Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday, adding that it would only be necessary for "a very unusual situation."
"If you were vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask outside," he said on CBS "This Morning." "It would be a very unusual situation if you were going into a completely crowded situation where people are essentially falling all over each other. Then you wear a mask. But any other time, if you are vaccinated and you are outside, put aside your mask, you don’t have to wear it."
Fauci, the White House’s chief medical advisor, made his comments days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was accused of exaggerating the risk of virus transmission while outdoors. The New York Times reported that while the agency maintains the risk of transmission is "less than 10%," the reality of the percentage is closer to 1%.
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CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky was pressed on the data during a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who said she no longer considers the agency’s guidance to be "the gold standard." Collins blasted the agency for school reopening guidance, the outside risk data and "unworkable restrictions on summer camps."
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Currently, the CDC advises masks for children who are attending summer camp, even while outdoors. However, the agency issued the guidance before the FDA authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents ages 12-15. Fauci and Walensky have said that the agency would be monitoring the data and updating guidance "almost in real-time."
Fauci also conceded earlier this month that the agency’s summer camp guidance are "a bit stringent," and "conservative." He also agreed with former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb who suggested that it’s time to ease indoor mask guidance.
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"We need to start being more liberal as we get more people vaccinated," he said while appearing on ABC’s "This Week." "As you get more people vaccinated, the number of cases per day will absolutely go down. We’re averaging about 43,000 a day, we’ve got to get it much, much lower than that. When that gets lower, the risk of any infection indoor or outdoor diminishes dramatically."
Fox News' Kayla Rivas contributed to this report.