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Dr. Fauci calls CDC summer camp guidelines 'a bit strict'

Fauci defended the CDC's latest guidelines for summer camps during the pandemic against being "excessive" but acknowledged they are "a bit stringent."
/ Source: TODAY

Dr. Anthony Fauci defended the recent COVID-19 guidelines for summer camps issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but acknowledged on TODAY they are "a bit stringent" as kids get set to return to summer activities during the pandemic.

The CDC's most recent summer camp guidance calls for masks to be worn at all times, even outdoors and by vaccinated adults and children as young as 2, while also recommending kids remain 3 feet apart. The only mask exceptions are for eating and swimming, and 6 feet of distance between staff and campers is recommended during meals.

Given the CDC has also said this month that fully vaccinated people don't have to wear masks outdoors at all unless it's in crowded places and that all adults don't have to wear one outside if they're walking, running or biking alone, Fauci, the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, was asked by Savannah Guthrie on TODAY Wednesday if the summer camp rules are excessive.

"I wouldn't call them excessive, but they certainly are conservative," Fauci said. "And I think what you're going to start to see is really in real time, continually reevaluating that for its practicality. Because you're right, people look at that and they say, 'Well is that being a little bit too far right now?'

"The CDC makes decisions based on science, they will continually reevaluate that. You're right, it looks a bit strict, a bit stringent, but that's the reason why they keep looking at that and trying to reevaluate literally in real time whether or not that's the practical way to go."

There also is the chance that many children could be vaccinated by the time some summer camps get started. Fauci anticipated that the Food and Drug Administration would be approving the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 "within several days."

The preparation for summer camps comes as President Biden has announced a goal of having 70% of adult Americans vaccinated with at least one dose by the Fourth of July. The focus on vaccination efforts will be changing from urging people to go to mass vaccination sites to instead setting up walk-ins at local pharmacies where people can go at any time without an appointment to get vaccinated.

Fauci believes there isn't a specific number to fixate upon when it comes to the idea of creating herd immunity against the virus.

"It might actually be the herd immunity number or not," he said about the 70% figure. "Since we don't know what that number is, rather than getting fixed on a particular number, let's just get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can as quickly as we can, and setting a 70% goal of adults with one shot by the Fourth of July is an ambitious, but nonetheless attainable goal."

The more vaccinations, the less restrictions in everyday public life, Fauci said.

"So the answer to everybody's problem is just get as many people vaccinated as you possibly can," he said.