The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance that states fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in indoor or outdoor settings “remains unchanged,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday. Fauci, who was asked about changing guidance issued by the WHO and even Los Angeles officials, said the agency made its “broad recommendation” based on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
“As I was alluding to in my comments, you have a broad recommendation for the country as a whole, which is CDC recommendation that if you are vaccinated, you have a high degree of protection, so you need not wear a mask whether indoor or outdoor,” he said, during the White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing.
Fauci’s comments came after White House coronavirus response coordinator, Jeff Zients, said that the country has seen 67% of adults receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, falling just shy of President Biden’s goal to see 70% by July 4. Zients added that millions of Americans continue to receive vaccines each week, but CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned that in pockets of the country where rates remain low there have been increases in new COVID-19 cases.
Walensky said nearly one in two samples sent for genomic sequencing now come back positive for the Delta variant, which she said is currently predicted to be the second most prevalent in the U.S., but is expected to eclipse the Alpha variant in the coming weeks.
Walensky said there are about 1,000 communities in the U.S., primarily in the Southeast and Midwest, where vaccination rates remain less than 30%. As a result, she said, amid rapid spread of the Delta variant these areas are expected to see increased transmission “unless we can vaccinate more people now.”
She added that “vaccination is how we protect these individuals,” and communities, and that while any suffering or death from COVID-19 is tragic, “it’s nearly entirely avoidable.”