With COVID cases surging, Dr. Anthony Fauci says the federal government should seriously consider a vaccine mandate for domestic flights. The top White House medical adviser said Monday that it would be "reasonable" to consider the mandate, Bloomberg reports. "When you make vaccination a requirement, that’s another incentive to get more people vaccinated,” he told MSNBC. "If you want to do that with domestic flights, I think that’s something that seriously should be considered." Officials say the Biden administration has been reluctant to bring in such a mandate because it would face immediate legal challenges, reports the AP.
In an ABC interview Sunday, Fauci warned that cases in the omicron wave are likely to go much higher and even if the variant does turn out to be less severe, the positive effect could be outweighed by the effect of having "many, many, many more people with a less level of severity." He said health authorities are most worried about unvaccinated people, "because those are the most vulnerable ones when you have a virus that is extraordinarily effective in getting to people."
Fauci also said Monday that he was "stunned" when Donald Trump was booed by his own supporters after telling them he'd had his booster shot. He said it shows "poisoning the well early on about—even not being enthusiastic or outright not pushing—vaccines or discouraging vaccines, now has a lingering effect." Fauci said the fact that even Trump can't convince many Trump supporters to get vaccinated shows the "strength of divisiveness" in society. There "is no place for divisiveness politically when you have a classical historical, unprecedented pandemic," he said, per the Hill. "I mean, it just doesn't make any sense." (Read more COVID-19 stories.)