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Fauci: New Mask Guidelines Should Motivate People to Get COVID Vaccinations

FILE - Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks at a U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, March 18, 2021.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House's chief medical adviser, said Wednesday that the new outdoor mask recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should motivate people to get vaccinated.

The CDC said Tuesday that fully vaccinated Americans did not need to cover their faces outdoors unless they were in crowds, and that they could enjoy activities such as exercising outside and eating outdoors at restaurants without masks.

In an interview Wednesday with NBC, Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, said that short of a huge concert or other major gathering, fully vaccinated people could go outside and enjoy the environment without masks. He noted that as vaccination rates rose, infection rates would fall and more restrictions would be lifted.

Fauci also disputed reports that young, healthy people should not get vaccinated. He said youths could and would be infected if they put themselves at risk. And even without symptoms or with light symptoms, they can still propagate the virus and "inadvertently and innocently" infect someone who could develop a severe case of the virus.

The best way to end the pandemic and its restrictions is to get vaccinated, Fauci said.