Americans could resume normal life by the third quarter of 2021—if enough people are vaccinated against COVID-19, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious-disease expert, on Monday. That's a big if. The current pace of the vaccine rollout has been criticized as too slow. The Trump administration initially pledged that 20 million people would be vaccinated by the end of 2020. As of Monday, Jan. 4, only 4.5 million people had received the vaccine, according to the CDC. Read on to discover how you can stay safe from COVID-19, according to Dr. Fauci—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
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Doctor in personal protective suit or PPE inject vaccine shot to stimulating immunity of woman patient at risk of coronavirus infection.
End of summer could bring normality, if…
President-Elect Biden has set a goal of vaccinating 1 million people per day, or 100 million total within the first 100 days of his administration. On MSNBC's All In With Chris Hayes, Fauci said that goal was realistic. He noted that in New York City in 1948, 6.3 million people received the then-new smallpox vaccine in two weeks. Fauci, then six years old, was one of those recipients.
"As far back as 1947, we had a big full-court press on getting people vaccinated for smallpox in New York City," said Fauci. "It can be done. You get everything in the right place, everybody cooperating, everybody collaborating, and we could do it."
Fauci said that to achieve herd immunity, between 70% and 85% of the American public would need to be vaccinated. "If we put the kind of pressure on the way we're talking now—getting that 1 million people per day vaccinated—by the time we get to the middle and end of the summer, we can have that veil, that envelope, that umbrella of herd immunity that could protect us," he said. "And then you and I can get out on the court and play some pick-up basketball because the level of virus will be so low in the community that it won't pose a risk to us."
Fauci said it's unclear exactly why the rollout has been slower than planned. "We were supposed to get 20 million doses that were distributed," he said, noting that about 14 million have been sent out. "So we're a little bit short on that. Hopefully we'll catch up with that in the next few days. But the real question is, we had about four plus million in the arms of people. We've got to get that up. We've got to get the pace up. We're not where we want to be. There's no doubt about it."
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How to survive this pandemic
As for yourself, 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, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.