Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s senior medical adviser on Covid-19, said Sunday that even if he predicted the country would become “a significant degree of normalcy, Americans may still be wearing masks outside their homes in a year would return By autumn.
“I want the base to remain so low that there is virtually no threat,” said Dr. Fauci on CNN’s State of the Union program, citing the number of national-level cases he would be comfortable with stop recommending universal masking. “If you combine vaccination of most of the people in the country with very, very low virus rates in the community, you probably won’t be able to say that it doesn’t necessarily have to wear masks. “
Dr. Fauci appeared on a series of television news on Sunday morning asking about the dangers of variants of the coronavirus, the schedule for the vaccine to roll out in the nation, and when vaccination would allow more students to return to school.
On this last question, Dr. Fauci on Fox News Sunday, he hoped that students, of whom far fewer returned to classrooms compared to younger children, could be vaccinated in the fall.
“So we’re pushing these trials to get them vaccinated,” he said of teenagers who are currently the subject of clinical trials by Pfizer and Moderna. “That will probably happen in the fall. I can’t say it will be the first day school starts in the fall semester. “
However, vaccinations for younger children “are unlikely to be done until the beginning of the first quarter of 2022,” said Dr. Fauci.
On the hotly debated question of whether people should wait longer than the recommended three or four weeks to get a booster vaccine or even skip the second dose, Dr. Fauci on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that this was prudent for people sticking to the prescribed schedule.
“There are enough unknowns, especially the durability of the protection,” he said.
He added that new data suggesting people with Covid could get adequate protection from a dose is “really impressive” but it could be tricky to document who had the virus.
He also addressed the issue of the mutated variant of the coronavirus identified in South Africa. In clinical trials of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in this country, vaccinated patients were not protected from mild or moderate disease caused by the variant known as B.1.351. Dr. Fauci said on Fox News Sunday that while it is still rare in the United States, “if it becomes more dominant, we may need a version of the vaccine that is specifically effective against it.”
With the United States expected to suffer more than 500,000 deaths from Covid-19 in the coming days, Dr. Fauci told Chuck Todd in “Meet the Press” that “We haven’t seen anything like it in more than 100 years.” The 1918 influenza pandemic added, “People will talk about it in decades and decades and decades.”