Dr. Anthony Fauci estimated a timeframe for when people may be able to stop wearing face masks during a Thursday night appearance on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time.”
With Thursday’s FDA Vaccine Advisory Panel approval of Pfizer’s vaccine and several more in the works, CNN host Chris Cuomo posed a question to Fauci he said he’s often asked himself — when the masks could potentially come off.
“Well, the answer is unless you get the overwhelming majority of the country vaccinated and protected and get that umbrella of what we call herd immunity,” Fauci responded.
“There’s still a lot of virus out there,” he continued. “So just because you’re protected, so-called protected by the vaccine, you should need to remember that you could be prevented from getting clinical disease and still have the virus that is in your nasopharynx because you could get infected.”
Fauci explained that the vaccine certainly protects most from getting “clinically recognizable disease” and especially “severe disease,” but may not protect against transmitting it to others.
“But until you have virus that is so low in society we as a nation need to continue to wear the mask, to keep the physical distance, to avoid crowds,” he said. “We’re not through with this just because we’re starting a vaccine program. Even though you as an individual might have gotten vaccinated, it is not over by any means. We still have a long way to go and we’ve got to get as many people as possible vaccinated. Of all groups.”
Asked by Cuomo for a timeframe, Fauci estimated that as long as compliance is good and people “step up to the plate,” a significant percentage of the population will have protection by the end of June.
“If 75 or more percent of the population decides they want to get vaccinated, I would hope by the time we get to the end of the second quarter into the summer that we will have enough people vaccinated that by the time we get to the fall in the third quarter of the year that we will have that veil of protective herd immunity that would really essentially protect all the vulnerable,” he said. (RELATED: ‘That Was Offensive’: Harris Faulkner Calls Out Fox News Colleague Marie Harf For Taking ‘Shot’ Against Show On Air)
The White House coronavirus task force member predicted a possible return to “some form of normality reasonably quickly, into the summer, and certainly into the fall.”