“In the next few days very likely, the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) will be coming out with updating their guidelines of what people who are vaccinated can do and even some who are not vaccinated,” he told CNN.
There will be more guidelines coming out “sooner or later” on things like travel, Fauci said, but highlighted that right now, the thing that’s on top of people’s minds is what they can do outdoors.
Outdoor activities carry a much lower Covid-19 risk, he said, and for Americans who are fully vaccinated, that risk level drops even further. And with warmer weather now here, Fauci said he expects guidance on outdoor activities to be released soon.
Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser for Covid-19 response, also told CNN on Sunday he expected more guidance for fully vaccinated Americans to be released in the coming days.
But a big part of the country still hasn’t begun their vaccinations.
“We have to remember those folks,” Slavitt said. “Folks who haven’t been vaccinated yet still feel very much at risk, so we have to bring the rest of the country along with us. The most important thing we can do: people who haven’t been vaccinated, make sure they get vaccinated.”
While the Covid-19 safety risks appear to be much lower outdoors, one expert said it’s still important to consider several factors when deciding whether to mask up or not.
“You do have to consider the rate of viral transmission in your community, the vaccination rates in your community and what kind of outdoor setting you’re in,” Dr. Richina Bicette, from the Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN Sunday. “A packed concert where people are shoulder-to-shoulder is going to be riskier than an outdoor volleyball game where you have a large area and people spread apart.”
What a gradual return to normal will look like
Experts including Fauci estimate between 70% to 85% of the country needs to be immune to the virus — either through previous infection or from vaccination — to suppress its spread.
But even before we hit those percentages, Fauci said that as more people get vaccinated, the country will reach a point where Covid-19 cases will begin going down dramatically.
But we’re not there yet.
“Right now, we’re averaging about 60,000 cases per day,” Fauci told CNN on Sunday. “As we get lower and lower and lower, you’re going to be seeing a gradual diminution of the restrictions and a more progressive moving towards normality,” Fauci added.
It won’t happen all at once. Rather, it’ll be a gradual return to normal, where Americans can begin enjoying outdoor activities, travel, sporting events, theaters and restaurants “little by little,” Fauci said.
Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Sunday there’s a big reason why he thinks that decline could stick this time.
“The past trends, when we saw cases start to decline, we were somewhat skeptical because we knew a lot of those declines were a result of behavioral changes, people pulling back more, taking more precautions and then as soon as we sort of let our guard we saw cases surge again,” Gottlieb said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“Right now, the declines that we’re seeing we can take to the bank,” he added. “I think we could feel more assured because they’re being driven by vaccinations and greater levels of population-wide immunity — not just from vaccination, but also from prior infection.”
Some Americans are missing their second shots
As more shots are making it into arms, a growing number of Americans seem to be missing their scheduled second dose, according to data from the CDC.
About 3.4% had missed that second appointment back in March. About 8% of Americans have missed it now, according to the latest data.
But that’s not an exact count.
If a person received their two Covid-19 vaccine doses from different reporting entities — for example, first from a state-run clinic and then from a local health clinic — the two doses may not have been linked together, a CDC spokeswoman said.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines require two doses to be considered fully effective. The Pfizer vaccine is given as two doses three weeks apart and Moderna’s is given four weeks apart.
Fauci told CNN he wasn’t surprised that some people aren’t showing up to get their second dose.
“Whenever you have a two-dose vaccine, you’re going to see people who for one reason or other — convenience, forgetting, a number of other things — just don’t show up for the second vaccine,” he said.
And that phenomenon is not specific to the Covid-19 vaccine, he said, but something that experts tend to see with other two-dose vaccinations.
US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told MSNBC people may be missing their second shot because they have no way of getting to the vaccine or may not know they need the second dose.
“What is really incumbent upon us is to make sure that people have the right information about the vaccines,” he said.
“It’s also important that we continue to build out access points,” he said, like mobile units, community vaccination centers and getting more vaccines to pharmacies and primary care providers.
CNN’s Naomi Thomas, Elizabeth Cohen and Maggie Fox contributed to this report.