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Fauci: When we don't have the science on reopening, we go with our gut


'When you don't have the data and you don't have the actual evidence, then you've got to make a judgment call'

Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House's top COVID-19 adviser, seemed to admit Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coronavirus guidelines are not entirely based on science.

During an interview on CNN, Fauci was asked to explain the "science" behind CDC guidelines that advise people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to refrain from traveling. In his answer, Fauci did not explain the science, but instead said that in the absence of data, sometimes the health experts responsible for making policy use their best judgement to tell Americans what to do.

"You know, that's a very good question John, and the CDC is carefully heading in that direction. When Dr. Walensky made the announcement a day or two ago about the fact that when you have a couple of people, two or three or more people in a family setting, both of whom are vaccinated even if it's someone from another — a friend, it doesn't have to be a member of the family — that was the first in a multi-step process that they are going to be rolling out," Fauci answered.

"They're being careful, understandably. They want to get science, they want to get data, and then when you don't have the data and you don't have the actual evidence, then you've got to make a judgment call," he explained.

On Monday, the CDC issued new guidelines for what fully vaccinated Americans — those who have received both doses of the two-dose vaccine and have waited two weeks — are recommended to do. The CDC said that it's safe for fully vaccinated people to mingle indoors with both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

However, the CDC did not update travel guidelines for vaccinated people. People fully vaccinated against the coronavirus are still recommended to avoid crowds, avoid nonessential travel, and wear a mask in public.

In a statement to CNN, CDC spokesman Jason McDonald said the agency "may update its travel recommendations for fully vaccinated people as more people are vaccinated and we learn more about how vaccines work in the real world. This is something we will be closely watching in the United States."

Fauci more or less told CNN the same thing.

"You're going to see little by little, more and more guidelines getting people to be more and more flexible. The first installation of this is what can vaccinated people do in the home setting. Obviously the next one is going to be what you're asking. What about travel? What about going out? What about getting a haircut, what about doing things like that?" he said.

"That's all imminently going to be coming out."

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