Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday said that Americans traveling to places with a low COVID-19 vaccination rate should “go the extra mile” and wear a mask even if they are fully vaccinated.
NBC’s “Meet the Press” anchor Chuck Todd said that Mississippi has the lowest vaccination rate in the United States and asked Fauci whether he would wear a mask if he was traveling there, prompting him to say, “I think there would be a good reason to do that.”
“I think there would be a good reason to do that because as we’ve said so often that vaccines are not, even as good as they are and highly effective, nothing is 100%,” Fauci said. “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.”
Earlier in the interview, Todd noted that there were nearly 10,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States during June and asked Fauci how many of the deaths were a result of not being vaccinated and whether they were preventable.
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“If you look at the number of deaths, about 99.2% of them are unvaccinated about 0.8% are vaccinated. no vaccine is perfect, but when you talk about the avoidability of hospitalization and deaths, Chuck, it’s really sad and tragic that most all of these are avoidable and preventable,” Fauci said.
“Obviously, there’s gonna be some people because of the variability among people and their response to vaccine, that you’ll see some who are vaccinated and still get into trouble and get hospitalized and die, but the overwhelming proportion of people who get into trouble are the unvaccinated which is the reason why we say this is really entirely avoidable and preventable,” he continued.
Todd asked Fauci how he was handling the attacks from critics over his messaging during the pandemic. Fauci called the attacks “noise” and “nonsense,” adding, “I just focus on my job. And when I focus on my job, I’m fine.”
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Last month, Fauci appeared on New York Times writer Kara Swisher’s podcast, “Sway,” where he claimed that attacks on him are “actually criticizing science.”
“It is essential as a scientist that you evolve your opinion and your recommendations based on the data as it evolves…and that’s the reason why I say people who then criticize me about that are actually criticizing science,” he said.