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Anthony Fauci. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite-Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that health officials are considering revising masking guidelines for vaccinated Americans.

Why it matters: Fauci said that the United States is "going in the wrong direction" as cases surge across the country, driven by the more contagious Delta variant.

  • "If you look at the inflection of the curve of new cases and, as you said in the run-in to this interview, it is among the unvaccinated. And since we have 50% of the country that not fully vaccinated, that's a problem," Fauci said.

The big picture: Fauci confirmed that new masking guidelines for the vaccinated are under "active consideration" and noted that, although current CDC guideline allows vaccinated people to go maskless, local officials have the discretion to alter this guidance.

  • This local discretion is "not incompatible" with the CDC guidance, which allows for local officials to amend masking guidelines.
  • Fauci added that local officials in places such as Los Angeles county, New Orleans, and Chicago have amended masking guidelines amidst rising cases and called this a "local decision."

Go deeper

Sep 18, 2021 - Health

Mississippi reports rise in COVID-19 deaths among pregnant women

Dr. Thomas Dobbs speaks during a House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., on March 10, 2020. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

At least eight pregnant women in Mississippi, who weren't fully vaccinated, have died of COVID-19 since late July, CNN reports.

Why it matters: The eight pregnant women who have died from the virus more than doubles the state's pandemic total in just two months.

Sep 17, 2021 - Health

CDC: Moderna vaccine most effective against hospitalization in U.S.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Overall healthy adults with the Moderna COVID vaccine had 93% vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization over five months compared to those with 88% protection with Pfizer and 71% from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a new report out Friday from the CDC shows.

Why it matters: The report comes as the Food and Drug Administrations meets Friday to consider whether to endorse a contentious plan for booster shots among the fully vaccinated.

Sep 17, 2021 - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.