Fully vaccinated people don't need to wear masks outside, Fauci says

"If you are vaccinated and you are outside, put aside your mask, you don't have to wear it," Fauci said.

Fully vaccinated people don't need to wear masks outside, Fauci says

Visitors to Times Square sit and enjoy the warm Spring weather on March 25, 2021 in New York City.

Roy Rochlin | Getty Images

Americans need to start getting used to seeing people outside without masks as more and more people get vaccinated against Covid-19, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.

Fauci reiterated new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that says fully vaccinated people don't need to wear masks in public unless they are in a crowd.

"We got to make that transition," Fauci said in an interview with CBS News after anchor Gayle King said people give her "the side-eye" when she takes her mask off outside, even though she's fully vaccinated. "If you are vaccinated and you are outside, put aside your mask, you don't have to wear it."

"If you are going into a completely crowded situation where people are essentially falling all over each other, then you wear a mask," Fauci said.

There is debate among medical experts over how much outdoor transmission is driving cases.

"The top-line result of all studies included in the systematic review said less than 10% of cases are transmitted outdoors," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday at a Senate hearing.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, blasted Walensky during the hearing, saying the agency's "conflicting, confusing guidance ... has undermined public confidence and contradicts the scientific guidance of many experts."

A report by The New York Times cites epidemiologists that say the CDC number is misleading, and that the actual number of outdoor transmissions could be below 0.1%.

Reports of new Covid-19 cases continued to decline in the U.S., averaging 36,700 new cases per day over the last week as of Wednesday, the lowest daily case average since Sept. 14, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows.