WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to reports, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci has reversed his previous advice on Sunday, stating that even individuals inoculated against COVID-19 should nonetheless wear masks when traveling to regions of the United States with low vaccination rates.
Previously, Fauci had stated that those who had been vaccinated would not need to wear a mask in most situations going forward.
While being interviewed on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Fauci was asked by host Chuck Todd if he would wear a mask to Mississippi, which at the moment has the lowest vaccination rate in the United States. In response, Fauci said that there was a good reason to be wearing masks in low vaccination rate areas, since vaccines are not 100 percent effective.
“And 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,” he said.
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Fauci’s answer to that question contrasted with Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who had stated on the June 30 episode of NBS’s “Today” show that inoculation from COVID-19 would keep people “really quite protected,” even from the COVID-19 variants that have been popping up.
“Here in the United States, we’re fortunate,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky told NBC’s “Today” show. “We have three vaccines that we know are safe and effective. We have two-thirds of the adult population that is fully vaccinated, and really quite protected from the variants that we have circulating here in the United States.”
Walensky also noted on that episode that the wearing of masks is not necessary for the vaccinated, stating that masking policies “are not to protect the vaccinated. They’re to protect the unvaccinated.”