Fauci says for vaccinated travelers to ‘go the extra mile’ and wear mask

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Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci looks on during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on January 21, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — America’s top infectious disease expert says about 99.2% of recent COVID-19 deaths in the United States involved unvaccinated people. And Dr. Anthony Fauci says “it’s really sad and tragic that most all of these are avoidable and preventable.”

He told NBC’s “Meet the Press” it’s frustrating “where you have a formidable enemy” in the coronavirus and “yet we do have a countermeasure that’s highly, highly effective. And that’s the reason why it’s all the more sad and all the more tragic why it isn’t being completely implemented in this country.”

When asked whether he would wear a mask if he was traveling to Mississippi where it has the lowest vaccination rate in the United States, Fauci said, “I think there would be a good reason to do that.”

He went on to say: “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.”

Fauci cited the reasons for opposition to the vaccine by some Americans, whether it’s “ideological” or whether some “are just fundamentally anti-vax or anti-science.”

He said the country does “have the tools to counter” the pandemic and he’s asking people to “put aside all of those differences and realize that the common enemy is the virus.”

Fauci noted the United States is “very fortunate” that it has “enough vaccines to vaccinate essentially everybody in the country. And there are people throughout the world who would do anything to get vaccines.”

The United States has registered over 605,000 deaths in the pandemic, the highest national toll in the world.

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