Story at a glance

  • White House Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci threw his support behind recently updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending universal mask use in public spaces in areas with high rates of reported cases and in school settings this fall.
  • Fauci told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday he respects an individual’s right to make their own decisions.
  • But the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases argued the decision does not necessarily end with the person choosing not to wear the protective covering.

Amid rising cases due to the now dominant delta coronavirus variant ravaging communities across the U.S., White House Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci threw his support behind recently updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending universal mask use in public spaces in areas with high rates of reported cases and in school settings this fall. 

Fauci, who has previously sparred with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) over the latter’s prohibition of mask mandates in his state told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday he respects an individual’s right to make their own decisions. 

DeSantis reportedly said Friday “the federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day.”

But the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases argued the decision does not necessarily end with the person choosing not to wear the protective covering. 


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“You understand people feeling that they have the individual right to make their own decisions, and I respect that for sure. But the issue is, if you’re going to be part of the transmission chain to someone else, then your decision is impacting someone else,” Fauci said, adding without rising cases of breakthrough infections, the risk of transmission from a vaccinated individual to a vulnerable person is low. 

“But since we know now they can transmit when they get breakthrough infections, even though they have minimal symptoms or no symptoms. We know they can do it. We know the mechanistic reason for it is that the level of viruses is high, so you want to make sure they don’t get infected. That’s the fundamental basis for the CDC modifying their guidelines.”

New cases are rising across the country and especially in a cluster of states, including Florida. The Sunshine State posted consecutive daily records over the past few days, reporting a record number of new cases Saturday, followed by a new high mark in hospitalizations on Sunday. 

The state has fully vaccinated approximately 49 percent of its residents according to data compiled by The New York Times. Meanwhile, CDC data shows that 49.6 percent of the total U.S. population is fully vaccinated. 


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Despite the surge, and his acknowledgment on ABC that things are going to get worse, he does not foresee lockdowns like the nation experienced during parts of 2020 and early 2021. 

"I don't think we're gonna see lockdowns. I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country — not enough to crush the outbreak — but I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter," Fauci told ABC News’ Jon Karl

The U.S. is averaging more than 79,000 new cases over the past seven days, with 45,298 average hospitalizations. 


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Published on Aug 02, 2021