The top U.S. infectious disease expert told a national audience on Sunday that trick-or-treating amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic should be embraced, not avoided, especially if vaccinations and mask-friendly costumes are encouraged.
“If you’re not vaccinated, again, think about that. You’ll add an extra degree of protection to yourself and your children and your family and your community. So it’s a good time to reflect on why it’s important to get vaccinated, but go out there and enjoy Halloween,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief White House medical adviser, told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Specifically, Fauci said that the ability for parents to get vaccinated, combined with the low risk of the virus spreading outdoors, offered some reassurance, especially considering the “mask-friendly” nature of the holiday, The New York Times reported.
“This is a time that children love. It’s a very important part of the year for children,” he added.
By 6 p.m. EDT Sunday, the United States had reported more than 44.3 million cumulative COVID-19 infections, which have resulted in more than 713,000 virus-related deaths. That figure includes nearly 3.3 million cases and more than 52,500 fatalities reported in the past 28 days, but the infection rate has decreased significantly since the nation’s winter peak when roughly 1 million new cases were reported every four days, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Fauci’s comments come one year after trick-or-treating was labeled a “high risk” activity amid the coronavirus pandemic and only one week after he said that it is “too soon to tell” if it will be safe for families to gather together for Christmas in December, Fox News reported.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, and since that time more than 8.2 million children in that age group have received at least one dose, including more than 6.7 million who are fully vaccinated, the Times reported.
Meanwhile, the companies petitioned federal regulators last week to authorize their vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, an age group that affects roughly 28 million U.S. youth.
Fauci was careful to note, however, that his trick-or-treating recommendation will only hold if COVID-19 infections and virus-related deaths continue their nationwide decline, Fox News reported.
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