Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said kids can go outside and enjoy Halloween this year thanks to vaccinations and a gradual ebbing of new COVID-19 infections after a devastating summer.
“I think that particularly if you’re vaccinated, you can get out there. You’re outdoors for the most part ― at least when my children were out there doing trick or treating ― and enjoy it,” Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. “I mean, this is a time that children love. It’s a very important part of the year for children.”
Fauci said unvaccinated people should strongly consider getting a jab for an extra degree of protection, adding that the upcoming holiday season was a “good time to reflect on why it’s important to get vaccinated.”
“But go out there and enjoy Halloween as well as the other holidays that will be coming up,” Fauci said.
The number of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has been steadily falling in recent weeks and the country is averaging about 95,000 new cases a day. But public health officials are still encouraging the millions of Americans who remain unvaccinated to obtain an inoculation to help end the pandemic and prevent another wave of infections.
Coronavirus vaccines have shown to be safe and effective for people aged 12 and over, and the Food and Drug Administration is planning to meet later this month to consider Pfizer’s request for an emergency use authorization for its vaccine in children aged 5 to 11. Shots for young children aren’t expected to be approved until next month at the earliest.
Fauci said cases in the U.S. were “certainly going in the right direction,” a statistic he hoped would continue into the holidays. When asked if Americans could plan to remove masks indoors in public places, he said he’d first like to see case numbers drop below 10,000 per day.
“But we have to just be careful that we don’t prematurely declare victory in many respects. We still have around 68 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated that have not yet gotten vaccinated,” he added. “And even those who have been vaccinated, I mean, you want to look forward to holiday seasons and spending time with your family and doing those sorts of things, but don’t just throw your hands up and say it’s all over.”