Social gatherings that Americans took for granted before the COVID-19 pandemic, like sporting events and seeing movies in theaters, could resume by the end of summer or beginning of fall 2021, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, on Wednesday. Fauci said this would depend on the “overwhelming majority” of the American population being vaccinated against the coronavirus, on the level of 75% to 85%. “It’s going to be determined by literally whether or not we get very good, enthusiastic uptake of vaccines,” he told the Wall Street Journal‘s podcast The Journal. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
April “open season” for vaccination, he predicts
“We have, luckily for us, a spectacularly effective tool that has a 94% to 95% efficacy, and not to our knowledge any significant adverse events,” said Fauci, referring to the two vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna that have been authorized for emergency use this month. “And when you implement that to its full advantage, at that point, we can get back to some form of normality.”
The initial supplies of vaccines are limited and have largely been earmarked for healthcare providers and residents of nursing homes. But Fauci predicted that by April, it would be “open season” for vaccination—meaning that “the normal man and woman in the street” without an underlying condition or essential job is able to get vaccinated. “The way we’re rolling out the vaccine, there will be priorities that will get vaccinated first, and the number of vaccines that are available are going to be incrementally increasing as the months go by,” he said.
“If we, by the time we get to April, put on a very, very strong vaccine administration effort and do it through April, May, June and July, by the time we get to the end of the summer and into the fall, we could have enough of a—blanket or umbrella or whatever you want to call it—protection in the community that we might begin to start approaching some sort of normality,” said Fauci. “Which means the schools are well protected. The teachers are vaccinated, they’re not concerned. Restaurants could then have indoor dining. You could have entertainment and theaters.”
Maybe even a World Series, asked the reporter?
“Yeah. But it’s quite possible. No, really true, quite possible. But it is going to be up to us,” he added. “If we only wind up getting 50% of the people vaccinated, we’re not going to get to that point very quickly.”
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How to survive this pandemic
If you want to get back to the movies or have a World Series, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, get vaccinated when it’s available to you, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.