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Fauci: ‘Go the extra mile’ and wear mask in places with low vaccination rates

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Greg Nash

The nation’s top infectious diseases expert, Anthony Fauci, said on Sunday that people should “go the extra mile” and wear masks in areas with low vaccination rates even if they’re fully vaccinated.

“If you put yourself in an environment in which you have a high level of viral dynamics and a very low level of vaccine, you might want to go the extra step and say, ‘When I’m in that area where there’s a considerable degree of viral circulation, I might want to go the extra mile to be cautious enough to make sure that I get the extra added level of protection even though the vaccines themselves are highly effective,'” Fauci told anchor Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Localities such as Los Angeles and St. Louis counties have reinstated mask advisories for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals indoors amid the delta variant’s spread. 

Fauci said that even though the vaccines are highly effective, they cannot be 100 percent guaranteed to prevent someone from getting infected with COVID-19.

The comments from Fauci come amid a spread of the highly infectious delta variant of the coronavirus, first discovered in India, in the United States. 

The country overall has made strides since the height of the pandemic, with infections and deaths decreasing amid widespread access to vaccines. However, public health experts have warned that the U.S. should not declare victory over the pandemic just yet in the face of the delta variant. 

Earlier this week, Fauci said he was worried that low vaccination rates combined with the spread of new variants could contribute to a surge in cases and subsequently more deaths. 

“When you have such a low level of vaccination superimposed upon a variant that has a high degree of efficiency of spread, what you are going to see among undervaccinated regions, be that states, cities or counties, you’re going to see these individual types of blips,” Fauci said during an appearance on Don Lemon‘s CNN show. “It’s almost like it’s going to be two Americas.” 

On Thursday, White House officials announced that the administration was instituting surge teams ready to travel to communities with lower vaccination rates in an effort to mitigate the delta variant.

The delta variant accounts for 25 percent of all new cases in the U.S.

Tags Anthony Fauci Anthony Fauci Chuck Todd COVID-19 Delta variant Don Lemon

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