During a dialogue with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci that aired on Sunday’s broadcast of CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Jake Tapper asked about the possibility that holidays could be safely celebrated under the threat of COVID-19.
Fauci said a vaccine would be required to reach a “degree of normality” with Tapper concluding Christmas would probably not be possible.
Partial transcript as follows:
TAPPER: Now, you have already encouraged Americans to consider canceling any Thanksgiving plans that involve visiting with somebody else or having visitors come.
I know a lot of Americans are looking ahead, hoping to make plans for other holidays, such as Christmas. But when do you think Americans will next be able to safely gather together for family events like this?
Are you suggesting it probably won’t be able to happen until, I don’t know, Labor Day 2021, Thanksgiving 2021?
FAUCI: You know, it depends on a number of factors, Jake.
For example, we have vaccines now. The first one that came out was highly effective. I anticipate that the second one likely will be comparable. You never can tell until you see the data, but would be comparable. That is great.
But we have to get people to take the vaccine. So, if we get the overwhelming majority of people taking the vaccine, and you have, on the one hand, an effective vaccine, on the other hand, a high degree of uptake of the vaccine, we could start getting things back to relative normal as we get into the second and third quarter of the year, where people can start thinking about doing things that were too dangerous just months ago.
But we have got to put all of those things together, Jake. We can’t just wish it happening. We have got to get the vaccine, it has got to be deployed, and we can’t abandon fundamental public health measures.
You can approach a degree of normality, while still doing some fundamental public health things that synergize with the vaccine to get us back to normal.
TAPPER: So, not until the second or third quarter of 2021, though? Christmas is probably not going to be possible.
FAUCI: Yes, I’m — well, I think that, if we get most of the country vaccinated in the second, third quarter of the year, and the vaccine continues to prove its efficacy, and people adhere to those fundamental measures, I think we can start approaching the degree — it’s not going to be a light switch, Jake.
We are not going to turn it on and off, going from where we are to completely normal. It’s going to be a gradual accrual of more normality as the weeks and the months go by, as we get well into 2021.
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