Anthony Fauci accused Americans of “misinterpreting” the federal government’s latest mask guidance, which allows vaccinated individuals not to wear masks in most settings.
People have misinterpreted the updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance released, White House coronavirus adviser Anthony Fauci told Axios on Wednesday. Many Americans haven’t read the full guidance and believe that even unvaccinated individuals are being encouraged not to wear masks anymore.
“I think people are misinterpreting, thinking that this is a removal of a mask mandate for everyone. It’s not,” Fauci said, according to Axios. “It’s an assurance to those who are vaccinated that they can feel safe, be they outdoors or indoors.”
The CDC unveiled its new mask guidance last week, which said that vaccinated people were safe without wearing masks outdoors and in most indoor settings. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the science around masking evolved recently, showing that vaccinated people are safe from the virus and don’t inadvertently transmit the virus to unvaccinated individuals.
“It’s not their fault. People either read them quickly, or listen and hear half of it,” Fauci told Axios. “They are feeling that we’re saying: ‘You don’t need the mask anymore.’ That’s not what the CDC said.”
“They said: If you are vaccinated, you can feel safe — that you will not get infected either outdoors or indoors. It did not explicitly say that unvaccinated people should abandon their masks,” he continued.
President Joe Biden said the new CDC mask rules represented a big moment in the nation’s battle with coronavirus during remarks celebrating the guidance. He also reiterated that the guidance applied to vaccinated individuals.
“It’s vax’ed or masked,” he said. “Get vaccinated.”
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