Asked what the “science” is behind health officials still advising against air travel, even for those vaccinated against Covid-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci earned backlash by admitting a lack of “data” behind the “judgement call.”
“What’s the science behind not saying it’s safe for people who have been vaccinated…to travel?” CNN’s John Berman asked Fauci on Wednesday, noting too that the Biden administration’s promise to base their Covid-19 decisions and recommendations on “science.”
Fauci struggled to explain the lack of a recommendation, saying the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is “carefully heading in that direction,” but “they’re being careful” and want to collect solid “data” before endorsing travel.
“When you don’t have the data and you don’t have the actual evidence, then you’ve got to make a judgment call,” he added.
Fauci, asked “what’s the science” for denying vaccinated Americans a return to travel, can’t explain.“When you don’t have the data and you don’t have the actual evidence, you’ve got to make a judgment call.” pic.twitter.com/lftvNzgA6J
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 10, 2021
The CDC released new guidance for vaccinated Americans on Monday, saying it is safe for fully vaccinated people to gather indoors without wearing masks or social distancing. It’s also safe enough, the agency said, for those who took the shot to be around small groups of unvaccinated people if the latter are not considered high-risk or don’t live with somebody who is deemed high-risk.
They have, however, fell short of giving the green light for vaccinated people to travel, instead claiming air travel could put the country at risk for another surge. Industry group Airlines For America has pushed back against this, saying air travel is a low-risk activity because of mask mandates and other precautions taken by airlines.
Fauci’s seeming admittance that pushing against travel is a “judgement call” with little science or data to back it up has led to a fresh round of frustration with the Covid-19 ‘expert,’ something that shouldn’t be new to him.
“‘Better safe than sorry’ isn’t ‘science.’ It’s a judgement call based on non-empirical factors. That’s fine, risk/reward with limited and imperfect information is a part of life. Let’s just not pretend it’s ‘science,’” Twitter user and pundit Drew McCoy tweeted in reaction to Fauci.
“He’s the star of the show. He never wants this to end,” actor David Sutcliffe added.
The CDC is going to be providing you with recommendations regarding “getting a haircut” more than a year into the pandemic? I’m sure glad each and every one of us stayed away from that salon/barber for the last 53 weeks. Aren’t you? https://t.co/tvykAjNHIT
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) March 10, 2021
Air travel is ⬇️risk. Being vaccinated on an airplane is ⬇️⬇️⬇️risk.It’s the indoor gathering during travel causing ⬆️cases. The CDC should refer to their rec’s for the vaccinated; traveling or not. If getting vax doesn’t lead to liberation, people wont get vaccinated. https://t.co/vBgdEQ0lag
— Nicole Saphier, MD (@NBSaphierMD) March 10, 2021
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who also spoke to CNN on Wednesday, said the CDC would only endorse air travel when more people are vaccinated based on previous surges, most of which occurred before vaccines were approved and being distributed.
“What we have seen is that we have surges after people start traveling, we saw it after July 4, we saw it after Labor Day, we saw it after the Christmas holidays,” she said, adding that their guidance will only be updated when “we have more protection across the communities and across the population.”
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