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Fauci says it’s fine to trick-or-treat, but COVID cases remain too high to drop pandemic restrictions

Anthony Fauci on July 20, 2021.Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

WASHINGTON -- The government’s top infectious diseases expert says families can feel safe trick-or-treating outdoors this year for Halloween as COVID-19 cases in the U.S. decline, especially for those who are vaccinated.

Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that it’s an important time of year for children, so “go out there” and “enjoy it.”

He added that people wanting to enjoy Halloween on Oct. 31 should consider getting the shots for that “extra degree of protection” if they are not yet vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccines so far have been approved for people 12 years and older. The Food and Drug Administration plans a meeting in late October to consider Pfizer’s request for emergency use authorization of its vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

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Nationwide, there are about 95,000 new COVID-19 cases a day. Fauci called the downward trend “good news” but expressed caution since cases have bounced back in the past.

Fauci said infections in the U.S. remain too high for a return to normal. He said he’d like to see cases drop to less than 10,000 a day before dropping COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, such as shedding masks indoors in public places.

“We have to just be careful that we don’t prematurely declare victory,” President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” While average daily infections have fallen to about 95,000, from an average of more than 150,000 a day last month, “that’s still way too high.”