On CNN's New Day this morning, Jim Sciutto asked Dr. Anthony Fauci about how the return to school would affect infections in children under 12.
"How much should we expect an increase in infections of children under 12 not yet vaccinated as they go back to school, particularly in many states where they're not even allowed to require masks, for instance, in schools. How concerned are you?" Sciutto asked.
"That's the issue that you just mentioned, Jim, if we do things right, we hope we don't see much increase at all," he said.
"If we want to protect the children, particularly those who are not yet eligible for vaccination, you want to surround the children with people who are vaccinated, teachers, school personnel, everyone else. But also in order to protect those who can't get vaccinated. There are certain simple things you have to do. You mentioned one of them, universal masking in the school, and even though there are, you know, some government leaders locally who are trying to push back on that, we have to get the school system masked, in addition to surrounding the children with vaccinated people.
"That's the solution. We don't need to see a big uptick at all in cases if we do it right."
"The trouble is, as you know, politics still trump the science, right? You listen for instance to the governor of Florida, one of the states of course that has banned mask mandates. The way he described vaccinations was really remarkable, and again, defies the science. I want to play it now, just describing who the vaccine is for. Have a listen, I want to get your reaction," Sciutto said.
Sciutto asked Fauci to explain why that's false.
"Well, that's not true at all. I mean, obviously it's important for you as an individual, for your own personal protection, safety and health. but when you have a virus that's circulating in the community, and you are not vaccinated, you are part of the problem because you're allowing yourself to be a vehicle for the virus to be spreading to someone else," Fauci said.
"So it isn't as if it stops with you. If that were the case, then it would be only about you. But it doesn't. You can get infected even if you get no symptoms or are minimally symptomatic and then pass it on to someone who might, in fact, might be very vulnerable, an elderly person, a person with an underlying disease, so when you're dealing with an outbreak of an infectious disease, it isn't only about you. There's a societal responsibility we all have."