CDC may revise masking guidelines, Fauci says

About 50% of the country is not fully vaccinated, leading to concerns

With new cases of COVID-19 surging in many parts of the U.S., the CDC is considering revising its masking guidelines, according to Anthony Fauci, M.D., chief medical advisor to President Biden.

Interviewed Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” Fauci said “we’re going in the wrong direction” when it comes to trends in new COVID cases and that new CDC masking guidelines for people are who are vaccinated are “under active consideration.” He added that nearly all the new cases are among unvaccinated people, “and since we have about 50% of the country not fully vaccinated, that’s a problem,” particularly since the Delta variant of the virus can spread so efficiently and “we know we have many, many vulnerable people in this country who are unvaccinated.”

Asked by host Jake Tapper about a model predicting up to 4,000 deaths a day from COVID-19 by the fall if current trends continue Fauci said, “We have the tools to make that model wrong, but if we don’t vaccinate people the model is going to predict we’ll be in trouble as we get more and more cases.”

Fauci added that decisions by local officials in places such as New Orleans, Chicago and Los Angeles County to reimpose mask mandates in some circumstances is “not incompatible” with the CDC’s current guidance on masking. On Saturday,CNN reported that the CDC “is reconsidering its stance on mask orders.”

Also on Sunday, former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams predicted the country would see additional COVID-19 mitigation efforts in the months ahead. Speaking on “Face the Nation” Adams said, "More mitigation is coming. Whether it's masking, or whether it's closures or whether it's your kids having to return to virtual learning, that is coming. And it's coming because this pandemic is…spiraling out of control because we don't have enough people vaccinated."

According to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, 163 million Americans, or 49% of the population, are fully vaccinated, and about 57% have received at least one dose.

In another sign of concern over increases in the number of COVID cases, 31 health care organizations and societies issued a joint statement calling for all health care and long-term care employers to require their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“As we move towards full FDA approval of the currently available vaccines, all health care workers should get vaccinated for their own health, and to protect their colleagues, families, residents of long-term care facilities and patients. This is especially necessary to protect those who are vulnerable, including unvaccinated children and the immunocompromised,” the statement says. “As the health care community leads the way in requiring vaccines for our employees, we hope all other employers across the country will follow our lead and implement effective policies to encourage vaccination.”