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Dr. Fauci says the public is 'misinterpreting' CDC guidance on mask mandate for unvaccinated people

Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that the public is misinterpreting the new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the mask mandate as it applies to unvaccinated people.

"It's important to understand what the new guidance on masks were directed at. It said that people who are vaccinated can now feel safe, that they do not need to wear a mask either outdoors or indoors," Fauci said during a virtual event on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout conducted by Axios.

"It did not say that people who are not vaccinated should abandon their masks," he explained.

"It said people who are not vaccinated should continue to wear masks and should get vaccinated. So I think people are misinterpreting, thinking that this is a removal of a mask mandate for everyone. It's not," Fauci added.

"It's an assurance to those who are vaccinated that they can feel safe, be they outdoors or indoors," he concluded.

Fauci went on to say it wasn't the public's fault that they misunderstood the guidance.

"It's not their fault," he added. "People either read them quickly, or listen and hear half of it."

Coronavirus infections and deaths have plummeted across the country at the same time that the number of Americans choosing to get vaccinated have risen quickly. Other countries have not been as fortunate — India especially is battling a skyrocketing death rate from the pandemic as hospitals are overwhelmed.

After the celebrated guidance from the CDC on May 13, officials later clarified that schools should continue to require face masks for kids and keep social distancing through the end of the school year.

Fauci also said in the virtual conference that the "standard classical" news media had done a good job of informing the public, but he decried "fringe" news outlets that spread conspiracy theories and fake news. He did not name those news outlets.

Here's the entire video of Fauci's comments:

A conversation on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout

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