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STORY BY DEVAN COLE, CNN

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Published on March 15, 2021 2:17 AM

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Fauci says Covid guidelines 'will be much more liberal' by July 4 if US cases drop
Washington (CNN)Federal Covid-19 guidelines "will be much more liberal" by the Fourth of July if US cases drop as more Americans are vaccinated, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.

"If by the time we get to the Fourth of July, with the rollout of the vaccine, we get the level of infection so low -- I'm not going to be able to tell you exactly what the specific guidelines of the (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) are, but I can tell you for sure (guidelines) will be much more liberal than they are right now about what you can do," the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union." Asked whether people will return to a degree of normal without masks and distancing by the summer holiday, Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, replied: "Yes ... there will be a greater degree of confidence" in that. The comments from Fauci come nearly a week after the CDC released new guidance saying people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can safely visit with other vaccinated people and small groups of unvaccinated people in some circumstances.

The agency is still urging unvaccinated Americans to socially distance from people who don't live in their home, wear masks and avoid crowds, measures that have been critical to slowing the spread of the deadly virus over the last year. Fauci also warned that the US could see a situation similar to that in Italy, where a surge in cases due to new variants and other issues caused the government to announce a new lockdown starting Monday.