Fauci: CDC Summer Camp Guidance ‘Stringent,’ May Be Adjusted

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New U.S. guidance for children at summer camps is “stringent,” Anthony Fauci, the top White House medical adviser, said Wednesday, suggesting the rules may be loosened as new data comes in.

“I wouldn’t call them excessive, Savannah, but they certainly are conservative,” Fauci said in an interview with NBC News’s Savannah Guthrie, referring to new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dictating children outdoors at summer camp wear masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“I think what you’re going to start to see is really in real time continually reevaluating that for its practicality, because you’re right, people look at that and say, ‘Isn’t that being a little too far right now?’” Fauci said.

Fauci added that while the rules look “a bit strict, a bit stringent,” the CDC would be reevaluating the guidance.

The guidance issued last week by the CDC called for children and adults at summer camps to wear masks at all times -- even outdoors, and even for vaccinated adults -- unless they were eating or swimming. The rules also called for campers to remain three feet apart from one another, and discouraged sharing of toys, games and books.

Dimitri Christakis, an epidemiologist and the editor-in-chief of JAMA Pediatrics, called the rules “unfairly draconian” in an interview with New York magazine.

Fauci: CDC Summer Camp Guidance ‘Stringent,’ May Be Adjusted

“Keeping children masked for activities like baseball and tennis is ridiculous,” he said.

During a White House briefing on Wednesday CDC director Rochelle Walensky said the guidance is designed to avoid the Covid-19 outbreaks that occurred at summer camps last year. “We’re trying to make sure that there’s not a lot of heavy breathing around a singular soccer ball with five kids around it at the same time,” she said.

Walensky said she would advocate for not having to wear masks outdoors if there was vaccine authorization for 12- to 15-year-olds and they were able to get shots before going to camp. But for now, unvaccinated kids will have to be masked outdoors, she said.

“What we really are trying to do is ensure that all of these kids can have a really good camp experience and keep the camps open without any outbreaks,” she added.

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