Dr. Fauci Just Said to Avoid This One Place, Even If You're Vaccinated
He says to avoid going here "until we get the level of virus down so low that there's no threat."
Nearly 66 million Americans have received at least one dose of their COVID vaccine and about half of those people (35 million) are fully vaccinated, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With 17 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated in the U.S., Americans are finally starting to feel hopeful and getting the sense that a return to some aspects of our former lives isn't as far off as it once seemed. While being fully vaccinated allows you a little more freedom and a lot more sense of calm, in a new interview on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on March 12, Anthony Fauci, MD, the White House's chief COVID adviser, said there's one place that's still not safe to go. Read on to find out the one place you should still avoid, according to Fauci, and for more vaccine guidance, check out This Is What It Means If You Have No Vaccine Side Effects, Doctors Say.
Don't go to a club, Fauci says.
Fauci talked with late-night host Stephen Colbert in honor of the one-year anniversary of COVID taking hold of the U.S. In a round of rapid-fire questions, Colbert attempted to clear up some information as to what's safe and what's not for fully vaccinated people. In addition to asking about handshakes and bringing back his live audience, Colbert asked: "If I get the vaccine, can I hit the clubs two weeks after I get the shot?"
Fauci was quick to shut that one down. "No, you shouldn't hit the clubs until we get the level of virus down so low that there's no threat to hit the clubs." And for more on what not to do pre-shot, check out Don't Do This the Night Before Your Vaccine Appointment, Experts Say.
Fauci has repeatedly warned that bars and clubs are among the most dangerous places amid the pandemic.
Throughout the pandemic, Fauci and other medical professionals have warned of the danger of indoor bars and clubs, where ventilation is poor, crowding is high, masks are taken down, and inhibitions are lowered, too.
"Bars are really problematic. I have to tell you, if you look at some of the outbreaks that we've seen, it's when people go into bars, crowded bars," Fauci told Elisabeth Rosenthal, editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News, in November. "I used to like to sit at a bar and grab a hamburger and a beer. But when you're at a bar, people are leaning over your shoulder to get a drink, people next to each other like this. It's kind of fun because it's social, but it's not fun when this virus is in the air. So I would think that if there's anything you want to clamp down on for the time being, it's bars." And for more COVID news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
His warning comes as many states are reducing their COVID restrictions.
Fauci's warning comes as certain states have begun dialing back on their restrictions since COVID cases have come down after peaking in January. States like Texas, Mississippi, and Wyoming have removed their mask mandates in the past couple of weeks and others like New York, Virginia, and Louisiana have reduced restrictions on bars, entertainment venues, and restaurants.
"You don't want to turn the switch on and off and say, 'OK, we're doing well. Let's stop everything that we're doing regarding public health.' We don't want to do that," Fauci said on The Late Show.
"But that's happening, all over the country in various states," Colbert said. "People are going, 'OK! Back in the pool!'"
He then asked Fauci what his advice would be to those states loosening restrictions. "It is really risky. Right now, even though the cases are coming down in a sharp decline, over the past couple of weeks, it's started to plateau a bit. And if it plateaus, it's plateauing at an unacceptably high level—about 50,000 to 60,000 new infections per day. And every time we've seen a plateau at that level, there's always been the risk of getting yet again another surge," he said. "Everyone is empathetic with that need to start to get back to normal. Everybody wants to do that. … It's going to happen, Stephen, it is—guaranteed it's going to happen, but we've got to do it prudently and carefully."
And to see how your state is faring at the moment, check out This Is How High the COVID Risk Level Is in Your State, Data Shows.
He believes once the U.S. reaches 10,000 new daily cases, most places should be safe to reopen.
During a March 4 interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Fauci established a timeline for when it would be acceptable for states to start dialing back on pubic health restrictions. He even setting a specific number that new cases would have to drop to in order for it to be safe to open up and remove mask mandates.
"I would like to see, as we get the level of virus in the community to a very low level, well, well below the 60,000 to 70,000 new infections, somewhere," he told Tapper. "Even though there's not a good model there yet… I would say less than 10,000, and maybe even considerably less than that."
And for more on what not to do after you get vaccinated, check out Don't Do This Until a Month After Your COVID Vaccine, Experts Warn.