Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on Monday that people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 have diminished risk when traveling – and that decisions about traveling are relative risk evaluations.
Fauci said that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made it very clear that the risk of infection when traveling – and in travel hubs like airports – is increased compared to not traveling, but also that vaccinated people can feel that their risk is “dramatically diminished because they are vaccinated.”
“Certainly, if you’re an unvaccinated person, given what’s going on right now, I would say that you’d have to be careful, depending upon where you are and to where you want to go, that you should be careful because an unvaccinated person is clearly at risk of getting infected, and perhaps, depending on their status, getting a severe outcome,” Fauci said. “That risk is dramatically diminished if you are vaccinated.”
“It’s going to be a relative risk evaluation on the part of people,” he said. “Depending upon what the purpose of the travel is, people will have to make up their mind about the risk benefit ratio, knowing that in fact, if you are vaccinated, your level of protection is high.”
Asked by CNN whether he thinks it will be safe to fly without a mask if the TSA’s mask requirement for air travel ends when it is set to on Sept. 13, Fauci said “I think that we’re going to have to wait to see what the situation is in September.”
“We have a month and a half to go before then. You know, things could get considerably better. I would hope that as more people get vaccinated – and I hope we continue to have a steady flow of people getting vaccinated – that things do improve considerably,” he said. “If they go the opposite direction, then I think you need to reconsider those things, particularly since it’s a month and half away.”