Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday defended the new face mask guidelines amid confusion on the issue, saying the scientific data backed up the policy change and he hopes people use it as motivation to get vaccinated.
‘There’s been an accumulation of data on showing in the real-world effectiveness of the vaccines. It is even better than in the clinical trials, well over 90% protecting you against disease,’ Fauci said on CBS’ Face the Nation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday announced an abrupt change in policy, that fully vaccinated Americans do not have to wear masks outdoors and in most indoor settings, aside from crowded places such as buses and planes.
Some businesses and states, however, still require face coverings, leading to confusion.
Fauci, who serves as director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, said the change in policy came because of new data and studies.
‘We’re seeing that it is very unlikely that a vaccinated person, even if there’s a breakthrough infection, would transmit it to someone else. So, the accumulation of all of those scientific facts, information and evidence brought the CDC to make that decision to say now when you’re vaccinated, you don’t need to wear a mask, not only outdoors, but you don’t need to wear it indoors,’ he said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci defended the CDC’s policy change on face masks, saying the scientific data backed up the decision
Dr. Fauci said he hopes people use the new face mask policy as motivation to get vaccinated
Fauci also said he hopes the new policy will serve as motivation for those who haven’t gotten vaccinated to do so. About 121 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, according to CDC data – about 37% of the population. Around 157 million Americans – about half the population – has had at least one dose of the vaccine.
‘The underlying reason for the CDC doing this was just based on the evolution of the science that I mentioned a moment ago. But if, in fact, this serves as an incentive for people to get vaccinated, all the better. I hope it does, actually,’ he said.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky also on Sunday defended her agency’s abrupt reversal on face mask wearing but did little to clear up lingering confusing caused by the change in policy.
She also said those who are not vaccinated must still wear face coverings and it would be done on the ‘honor system.’
‘The honor system is to be honest with yourself. If you are vaccinated, we are saying you are safe, you can take off your mask, and you are not at risk of severe disease or hospitalization from COVID-19. If you are not vaccinated, you are not safe. Please go get vaccinated or continue to wear your mask,’ she said on Fox News Sunday.
Walensky said the order change came because the science has ‘really just evolved’ regarding how protected vaccinated people are from getting COVID-19.
‘We now have science that has really just evolved even in the last two weeks that demonstrates that these vaccines are safe, they are effective,’ she said on ABC’s This Week.
But, adding to the confusion, she also said the order wasn’t blanket approval for everyone to stop wearing face masks.
‘We also need to say that this is not permission for widespread removal of masks,’ she added. ‘For those who are vaccinated, it may take sometime for them to feel comfortable removing their masks, but also that these decisions have to be made at the jurisdictional level, at the community level. Some communities have been hit harder than others, have lowered vaccination rates than others.’
She said most decisions on the matter would be made at the ‘community level.’
‘We want to deliver the science of the individual level, but we also understand that these decisions have to be made at the community level,’ Walensky noted.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Sunday defended her agency’s abrupt reversal on face mask wearing but said those not vaccinated must still mask up, telling Fox News Sunday the ‘honor system’ would be used
In four media appearances on Sunday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky didn’t clear up any of the linger confusing brought about the CDC’s abrupt change on wearing a face mask
In four media appearances on Sunday, Walensky didn’t address questions about the confusion being caused by the new policy that says fully vaccinated Americans do not have to wear masks outdoors and in most indoor settings, aside from crowded places such as buses and planes
Despite the new policy from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention some businesses still require face coverings and many states have not changed their own policies.
‘Can you see, since this is big news for every American, can you see how your guidance, the vaccinated people can take their masks off, but requirements from businesses, local governments, to keep the masks on, are sending a mixed message,’ CNN’s Dana Bash asked her.
‘I know that we need to do the hard work – this was individual guidance – to understand what this means for communities, what this means for businesses,’ she said.
‘And what we’re really asking in those settings is to say, in terms of the honor system, people have to be honest with themselves. You’re protected if you’re vaccinated. You’re not if you’re not vaccinated,’ she noted.
Walensky instead said businesses should try to make sure their employees are vaccinated.
‘This was individual guidance to understand what this means for communities, what this means for businesses,’ she said on State of the Union.
‘What we’re saying to those essential workers, is that if those workers are vaccinated, they are safe so it’s really, we are really asking the businesses to work with their workers to make sure that they have the paid time off to get themselves vaccinated so they can be safe,’ she said.
The CDC director dismissed the idea of a ‘vaccine mandate’ on a federal level but conceded some local communities and businesses may take that step.
‘We’re not counting on vaccine mandates at all. It may very well be that local businesses, local jurisdictions will work towards vaccine mandates. That is going to be locally driven and not federally driven,’ she said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
She also said it would be up to individual businesses to decide whether or not people must prove they are vaccinated.
‘I think that’s really going to have to be industry-by-industry,’ she said on Fox News Sunday. ‘I can see why in certain situations, for example the cruise ship industry, would be important to understand how protective the people who are taking the voyage are. I can also see how difficult it might be in other situations. So I think that that’s going to have to be an industry-by-industry discussion.’