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Fauci slams ‘no experience’ Florida judge who nixed mask mandate

Dr. Anthony Fauci took a shot at the Florida federal judge who struck down the Biden administration policy that forced plane and train passengers to wear masks — saying she doesn’t know enough about health to make such a decision.

“The CDC has the capability, through a large number of trained epidemiologists, scientists, to be able to make projections and make recommendations,” the White House chief medical adviser told CBS News on Thursday.

“Far more than a judge with no experience in public health,” Fauci added.

On Wednesday, the Justice Department filed a notice that it will appeal US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s ruling at the behest of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency has been closely monitoring an uptick in COVID-19 cases driven by the much more infectious Omicron variant, as well as another spike when a slightly different version of it, dubbed BA.2, emerged in early March.

Fauci noted that the variant did not “appear to be associated with an increase in hospitalizations and severe disease.”  

US District Court Judge Kathryn Mizelle ruled that the CDC’s mask mandate in airports and public transport is unlawful.
United States District Court
Florida travelers
Travelers wait to board a plane at Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida, on April 22, 2022.
AFP via Getty Images/ Daniel Slim

“It’s obvious to everyone we’re seeing that infections are on the rise. Whether or not that will result in an increase in hospitalizations, we don’t know. We hope not,” he told CBS News.

The top US infectious diseases expert said he had urged President Joe Biden to follow the recommendations by the CDC, which has continued to urge all travelers to wear masks.

Fauci said he planned to wear the highly protective N95 mask when flying.

People in airport
The variant appears to not be associated with an increase in hospitalizations, according to Fauci.
New York Post
United Airlines
The Justice Department filed a notice to appeal Judge Mizelle’s ruling.
Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

He recently said it’s now up to Americans to make their own medical risk assessments.

“This is not going to be eradicated, and it’s not going to be eliminated,” Fauci told ABC’s “This Week.” “And what’s going to happen is that we’re going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take.”

The doc’s comments about the state of the pandemic were in stark contrast to the more dire warnings he issued early on in 2020.

CBS Dr.Fauci
The decision by a federal judge in Florida to block the Biden administration’s mask requirement on planes and public transit was “disturbing,” Fauci told CBS News.
CBS News

“There are going to be plenty of people who are 25 years old, healthy and say, ‘No, as far as I’m concerned, I don’t like the discomfort of a mask,’” he told CBS News.

Fauci also told CBS News chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa on “Red & Blue” that he was unsure if he’ll remain in his post for a “long time.”

“I’ve always said we’ve got to get this thing under control. I’m obviously 81 years old, at the point in my career where I’m going to have to sit down at some time,” he said.

“But I would want it to be when we get this under better control. And we may be coming to that point right now. We may be closer to that now,” added Fauci, who also heads the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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