Fauci: CDC studying data suggesting 3 feet of social distancing 'OK under certain circumstances'

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate Israeli president receives COVID-19 booster shot AstraZeneca CEO: 'Not clear yet' if boosters are needed MORE, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said Sunday officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were aware of a new study indicating that social distancing measures could be just as effective at 3 feet as at 6 feet, adding the agency is doing its own tests on the subject.

Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," Fauci said the CDC's guidelines would change if agency officials confirmed three feet was an adequate distance to cut down on coronavirus transmission.

"What the CDC wants to do is, they want to accumulate data. And when the data shows that there is an ability to be three feet, they will act accordingly. They have clearly noted those data," he said.

"[T]he CDC is very well aware that data are accumulating making it look more like three feet or OK under certain circumstances. They're analyzing that. And I can assure you, within a reasonable period of time, quite reasonable, they will be giving guidelines according to the data that they have," he added.

Fauci has largely warned against states relaxing COVID-19 guidelines in the face of falling case numbers, moves experts have warned may be premature and lead to a new surge in infections. The CDC has instead mostly loosened guidelines for Americans who are fully or partially vaccinated against COVID-19, thought travel and other activities remain discouraged.

Some states including Texas have moved in recent weeks to entirely end COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and public life, while encouraging residents to follow best practices themselves.

President BidenJoe BidenThe Supreme Court and blind partisanship ended the illusion of independent agencies Missed debt ceiling deadline kicks off high-stakes fight Senate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session MORE pledged last week in an address that every American adult would be eligible for a vaccine by May 1 as officials have said they hope to return public life to some sense of normalcy later this year.