Dr. Anthony Fauci
, the country's foremost infectious disease expert, will not be wearing a mask to the next Washington Nationals
“I hope to get to Nats stadium soon, but I haven’t had time,” the immunologist, who the Nationals refer to as a “super-fan,” told Stardia on Thursday.
When he does, he intends to go without a mask: “As the CDC
recommendation states, when you're fully vaccinated, you don't need to wear a mask either outdoors or indoors,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
updated its guidelines last week to relax mask requirements for fully vaccinated Americans, which caused some consternation.
“Unfortunately, some people
interpreted [the new rules] as allowing everyone to remove their mask, which is not the case,” Fauci explained.
Many people were surprised when the CDC relaxed its guidance on mask requirements for vaccinated people. Only 38% of people in the United States are fully vaccinated, despite President Joe Biden
's goal of reaching 70% by July 4. And, while the administration has prioritized equal access to vaccines
in Black and brown communities, there is still a persistent racial gap — only 28% of Black Americans are fully vaccinated.
According to federal data, black Americans lag behind whites in nearly every state, which Fauci describes as "not surprising, but a little disappointing."
“One of the interesting things is that when you look at elderly individuals, brown and Black people are right on par with whites when it comes to vaccination
,” he said, adding that “it’s the younger Black and Hispanic populations.”
Fauci expressed hope that the COVID-19
Community Corps, which consists of volunteers in local communities who encourage friends
and family members to get vaccinated, will reach out to vaccine-hesitant individuals and provide them with more information.
However, other barriers, such as a lack of paid time off from work
or the inability to travel to vaccination sites, prevent Black people from receiving the vaccines. Some people have also expressed skepticism about the vaccines due to their rapid development.
Fauci, on the other hand, wants people to know that no corners were cut.
“What led up to the ability to develop a vaccine in such a short period of time was decades, literally decades, of investment in biomedical research
, the development of vaccine platform technologies, the development of immunogen design to get the proper immunogen to induce a very powerful immune response,” he explained.
And, if you get vaccinated, you can take off your mask and resume doing things you enjoy in a safe manner, according to Fauci.
“I haven’t even been able to closely follow my beloved Washington Nationals yet,” he said, adding, “I haven’t been to a game yet, and I really want to go to one badly.”