Fauci fears judge’s ruling on travel mask mandate may set “dangerous precedent”

The resolution by a federal choose in Florida to dam the Biden administration’s mask requirement on planes and public transit was “disturbing,” Dr. Anthony Fauci instructed CBS News on Thursday, saying that the Biden administration anxious it might set a “dangerous precedent.” 

“The CDC has the capability, through a large number of trained epidemiologists, scientists, to be able to make projections and make recommendations. Far more than a judge with no experience in public health,” Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, instructed CBS News chief election and marketing campaign correspondent Robert Costa on “Red & Blue.”  

The Biden administration moved Wednesday to attraction the choice, which got here because the company has been intently monitoring an uptick in COVID-19 circumstances pushed by the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron. 

More than 9 in 10 new infections within the present wave are from the BA.2 subvariant, the CDC estimated this week. Hospitalizations are additionally accelerating across the nation, although far wanting the report surge seen through the winter wave. 

Citing knowledge from overseas and the Northeast, which has seen essentially the most BA.2 circumstances thus far, Fauci mentioned the variant didn’t “appear to be associated with an increase in hospitalizations and severe disease.”  

“It’s obvious to everyone we’re seeing that infections are on the rise. Whether or not that will result in an increase in hospitalizations, we don’t know. We hope not,” Fauci. 

Fauci mentioned he had urged the president to observe the CDC’s suggestions, and for now the company has continued to induce all vacationers to put on masks. Fauci mentioned he personally deliberate to don a highly-protective N95 mask when flying. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks at a press briefing on the White House on December 1, 2021.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

But Fauci additionally acknowledged that Americans would “have to make their own individual choice” across the dangers of skipping masks whereas touring. 

“There are going to be plenty of people who are 25 years old, healthy, and say, ‘no, as far as I’m concerned, I don’t like the discomfort of a mask,'” mentioned Fauci. 

Asked about President Biden lately saying that masking whereas flying was “up to them,” White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre instructed reporters on Thursday that the president backed the CDC’s steering. 

“So as the CDC recommends, the president thinks you should mask right now, especially as they learn more about BA.2,” mentioned Jean-Pierre. 

“On a day-by-day basis”

Fauci instructed Costa he was uncertain if he would stay in his publish for a “long time,” saying that he was taking “things on a day-by-day basis.” 

“I’ve always said we’ve got to get this thing under control. I’m obviously 81 years old, at the point in my career where I’m going to have to sit down at some time. But I would want it to be when we get this under better control. And we may be coming to that point right now. We may be closer to that now,” mentioned Fauci, who additionally serves because the long-time head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 

He and President Biden nonetheless have a “very, very good relationship,” Fauci mentioned, one which existed “long before he was president of the United States.” 

Fauci additionally mirrored on his at-times “uncomfortable” work beneath Biden’s predecessor, recalling “tough times” when he needed to publicly disagree with President Trump and his high officers. 

“I did not like that. I do not like having to do that. I am very respectful of the presidency. But I never said to myself, ‘I want to walk away from it,'” added Fauci. 

Some Republicans on Capitol Hill have renewed their criticism of Fauci forward of the looming midterm elections. 

Following the court docket resolution blocking the CDC’s mask order in transportation, Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Jordan tweeted that “Fauci lost. Freedom won.” North Carolina Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn has repeatedly known as for Fauci to be fired or jailed. 

Fauci rejected the broadsides as “the most ridiculous thing,” later lamenting how political divisiveness had hampered the nation’s pandemic response. 

“When you have a common enemy in the virus, you’ve got to all pull together, fight that common enemy. And the degree of profound divisiveness in the country has really hindered that,” mentioned Fauci. 

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