Dr. Anthony Fauci argued Monday that the decision by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to recommend all children aged 3 years and older wear masks when schools reopen regardless of vaccination status was "a reasonable thing to do."
Appearing on CNN's "At This Hour," Fauci said that because there was a "substantial proportion of the population" that was unvaccinated, he understood why the organization would make such a decision.
"I think that's along the same lines as what we’ve seen with the health authorities in Los Angeles … that when you have a degree of viral dynamics in the community, and you have a substantial proportion of the population that is unvaccinated, that you really want to go the extra step, the extra mile, to make sure that there's not a lot of transmission, even breakthrough infections, among vaccinated individuals," Fauci said after host Kate Bolduan asked what he thought about the AAP's decision.
"For that reason, you can understand why the American Academy of Pediatrics might want to do that. They just want to be extra safe," he added.
Fauci admitted the recommendations by the AAP were a "variance" from the official CDC guidance on wearing masks, but he said the CDC "always leaves open the flexibility" for local agencies, enterprises and cities to make their own judgment calls.
"So, I think that the American Academy of Pediatrics, they’re a thoughtful group, they analyze the situation and if they feel that that's the way to go, I think that's a reasonable thing to do," he said.
Bolduan suggested the contradiction between the AAP's recommendations and official CDC guidance could cause confusion, and that the CDC should be "leading a little harder" after receiving criticism for unvaccinated people following guidelines intended for those who've been vaccinated.
"That is an understandable criticism," Fauci said, adding it made sense for more localized groups to want "to be more safe rather than sorry."
"But you’re absolutely correct, that does lead to some sort of confusion sometimes when people see an organization making one recommendation, in general, for the whole country and then local groups, local enterprises, local organizations, in order to get that extra step of safety, say something different. And you’re right, that does indeed cause a bit of confusion," he said.