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Video: Fauci says CDC may ask vaccinated Americans to wear masks again

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on April 6, 2020, in the White House. (D. Myles Cullen/White House)
July 25, 2021

White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN on Sunday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may recommend masks for vaccinated Americans amid rising cases of the COVID-19 delta variant.

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Fauci said the rate of deaths from the delta variant in the next few months is “not going to be good,” adding that the country is “going in the wrong direction.”

“This is under active consideration,” Fauci said regarding the CDC possibly revising mask guidelines for vaccinated individuals. “If you’re asking am I part of the discussion, yes, I am part of the discussion. But I think what you are seeing, even though as of our conversation at this moment, the CDC still says and recommends that if you are vaccinated fully, that you do not need to wear a mask indoors.”

“However, if you look at what’s going on locally in the trenches, in places like L.A. County, the local officials have the discretion and the CDC agrees with that ability and discretion capability to say, you know, you’re in a situation where we’re having a lot of dynamics of infection, so even if you are vaccinated, you should wear a mask,” he continued. “That’s a local decision that’s not incompatible with the CDC’s overall recommendations that give a lot of discretion to the locals. And we’re seeing that in L.A. We’re seeing it in Chicago. We’re seeing that in New Orleans, because the officials there, many of them are saying even if you’re vaccinated, it’s prudent to wear a mask indoors. That’s a local decision.”

Current CDC guidelines state that vaccinated individuals can “resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after he or she has received the second shot of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, or the single shot of Johnson and Johnson.

Last week, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told lawmakers during a hearing before the Senate Health Committee that the delta variant now makes up 83 percent of COVID-19 cases, according to ABC News.

“CDC has released estimates of variants across the country and predicted the delta variant now represents 83% of sequenced cases. This is a dramatic increase from — up from 50% for the week of July 3rd,” she said.