Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s foremost infectious disease expert, said he would support a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all air travel to the United States amid the continued spread of the delta variant virus.
“If you want to get on a plane and travel with other people, you should be vaccinated,” Fauci told Skimm’s “Skimm This” podcast last week. The episode is scheduled to air Thursday.
His comments come amid continued concern over the highly transmissible delta strain and the country’s continuing stubbornness in vaccination rates. President Joe Biden this month announced sweeping vaccine requirements for an estimated 100 million American workers in a bid to get more of the population vaccinated. A slew of businesses and airlines have also unveiled similar mandates to keep their customers safe, as have school districts across the country, including Los Angeles, the nation’s second largest.
Representative Don Beyer (D-Va.) Introduced new legislation last week that would require travelers to be fully vaccinated against the virus, or have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel, qualifying the proposal of “just common sense”.
“These are easy steps we can take to make travel safer, as companies like United have already demonstrated with responsible policy changes,” Beyer said in a statement at the time. “Americans want a return to normal that includes business or pleasure travel, and Congress can help people travel comfortably again by putting in place basic requirements that prevent the spread of Covid . “
The country remains in the midst of a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases linked to the delta variant. The United States averages about 145,000 new infections every day, and although cases have started to decline in some areas, hospitals in many states are critically short of intensive care beds.
Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Axios last week that ongoing transmission rates in the United States do not reflect “even modestly good control” of the pandemic.
“In a country our size, you can’t hang around and have 100,000 infections a day,” Fauci explained. “You have to go well below 10,000 before you start to feel comfortable.”
In his interview with theSkimm, Fauci also reiterated his support for school vaccination mandates, comparing a requirement for inoculation of the COVID-19 vaccine to other standard vaccines in use for decades.
“We already do it and have been doing it for decades and decades,” he told the podcast. “The school I went to with you had to get the vaccine or mesels, mumps rubella, polio.
He added, “The solutions we have on hand are vaccines. “
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