Fauci Says Mask Mandates 'Under Active Consideration' Even for Vaccinated Americans

Dr. Anthony Fauci said bringing back mask mandates—even for vaccinated Americans—is "under active consideration."

"If you're asking if I'm part of the discussion, yes I am," he said to host Jake Tapper while speaking on CNN's State of the Union Sunday.

Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that while the CDC still says that you do not need to wear a mask indoors if you are vaccinated, the agency supports local discretion for places that have determined mask mandates are necessary.

"The CDC agrees with that ability and discretion capability to say, you know, you're in a situation where we're having a lot of dynamics of infection," he said. "Even if you are vaccinated, you should wear a mask. That's a local decision that's not incompatible with the CDC's overall recommendations that give a lot of discretion to the locals."

Anthony Fauci
While speaking to CNN Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said bringing back mask mandates for vaccinated individuals is under consideration. In this photo, he testifies to Senate Health Committee on the country’s response to COVID-19. J. Scott Applewhite-Pool/Getty Images

Los Angeles County reinstated its mask mandate last Saturday "due to increased transmission from the Delta variant and intermingling of unmasked individuals where vaccination status is unknown," according to the public health department.

Fauci also said booster shots may be necessary, referring to the pandemic as a "dynamic situation."

"You've got to look at the data, and the data that's evolving from Israel and from Pfizer indicates that it looks like there may be some diminution in protection," he said.

He said this diminution may leave some people—including those undergoing chemotherapy, on immunosuppressive regimens, transplant patients, and those with suppressed immune systems—at risk.

"Those are the kind of individuals that if there is going to be a third boost, which might likely happen, would be among first the vulnerable," he said.

He said the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met on July 22 and "discussed that in some detail and continue to look at the data that might push us in that direction."

An Israeli study indicated the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine appears to be just 64 percent effective against preventing symptoms from the Delta variant. Previous studies in May showed the vaccine to be over 94 percent effective in preventing COVID-19. The study found the vaccine still remains highly effective against preventing serious symptoms and hospitalization.

The Delta variant has caused a significant spike in COVID-19 cases in the United States. About 22,472 new cases were reported Friday, compared to 14,691 new cases reported June 24, according to The New York Times. More than 80 percent of all COVID-19 cases across the country are thought to involve the Delta variant.