New guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control saying it's safe for vaccinated Americans to be outside without a mask under many circumstances means the nation is moving in the right direction, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday.
Fauci added more restrictions will be pulled back as COVID-19 cases continue to decrease.
"The thing that's become clear, you know, just from the scientific evidence, that the risk of getting infected if you are vaccinated and outdoors is extremely low," Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, said on NBC's "Today."
There still is the argument that the CDC tends to be "a bit conservative," Fauci said, but it is that way "becasue they want to make sure they get it completely right."
Even with COVID cases coming down some, there are still "tens of thousands of new cases" every day, Fauci pointed out, while slamming claims that vaccinations are not important for younger people.
But still, under the new guidelines, vaccinated people can do almost "everything" outdoor without a mask except for congregating in massive crowds, such as concerts, Fauci said.
"Anything short of that, if you're vaccinated, you really can be out there just enjoying the environment, which is really a big plus in motivating people to get vaccinated," he said.
As more people get vaccinated, that will result in fewer people getting infected, and the numbers of daily cases will decline, Fauci added, and when that happens, more restrictions will be pulled back, "guaranteed."
Meanwhile, children under the age of 16 can't be vaccinated right now, and they still face the risk of infection, said Fauci.
"High school kids will likely get vaccinated as we get into the fall term, and children of any age will likely be vaccinated by the time we get to the end of the year," he said. "But let's not talk about the end of the year. Let's talk about the immediate or intermediate future.
"They are more at risk of getting infected because they are out in the community where there is a lot of infection. When the community level starts to go way down, the risks to everybody, including the children, is going to be dramatically diminished."
He also shot back at podcaster Joe Rogan, who said on his Spotify podcast this week that healthy young adults need not get a COVID vaccine.
"You're talking about yourself in a vacuum then," he said. "You're worried about yourself getting infected and the likelihood that you're not going to get symptoms. But you can get infected and will get infected if you put yourself at risk.
"Even if you don't have symptoms, you are propagating the outbreak because it is likely that you, even if you have no symptoms, you may inadvertently and innocently then infect someone else who might infect someone who really could have a problem with a severe outcome."
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