SACRAMENTO (CBS13/AP) – 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.”

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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.

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

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The Pennsylvania Department of Health says COVID-19 cases among school-aged children last week was nine times higher than they were at the same time in 2020. A month ago, the number of cases was 12.2 times higher.

California’s coronavirus death toll reached another once-unfathomable milestone – 70,000 people – on Monday as the state emerges from the latest infection surge with the lowest rate of new cases among all states.

Last year at this time, cases in the state started ticking up and by January California was in the throes of the worst spike of the pandemic and was the nation’s epicenter for the virus. Daily deaths approached 700.

Fauci 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.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)