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Anthony Fauci Predicts Herd Immunity Achievable by Spring

Doctor Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday that the United States could achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus by the spring of 2021 if enough Americans receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

Photo by 2020 Robert F. Kennedy Ripple Of Hope Award Gala/Getty Images for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Herd immunity refers to when a large enough proportion of a population becomes immune to a virus, either through inoculations, antibody development from infection, or a combination of both.

“I believe if we’re efficient about it and we convince people to get vaccinated, we can accomplish [herd immunity] by the end of the second quarter of 2021, namely by the end of the late spring early summer. I believe we can get there by then,” Fauci said in an interview with MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson.

That largely depends on how efficiently vaccines can be distributed and how many people opt to take them.

“By the time we get to the fall, we can start approaching some degree of relief where the level of infection will be so low in society we can start essentially approaching some form of normality,” Fauci added.

But the nation’s top infectious disease doctor and most trusted source on all things COVID cautioned that until herd immunity is reached – which generally requires immunizing at least 70 percent of the population, or roughly 230 million Americans – public safety precautions such as masks and social distancing must continue.

“Only when you get the level of infection in society so low that it’s no longer a public health threat can you then think about the possibility of then pulling back on public health measures,” said Fauci, adding that precautionary steps will likely need to remain in effect through the end of 2021.

According to the COVID Tracking Project, SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has killed over 309,000 Americans. Nearly 199,000 new cases and 1,621 deaths were recorded on Monday.

Thirty-six days until the inauguration.



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