Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Biden administration’s chief medical adviser, is telling American citizens to prepare for several more months of mask-wearing.
Fauci appeared Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and answered questions from George Stephanopoulos. His five-minute segment opened with a discussion on vaccine rollout, with Fauci mentioning that “vaccine open season” could begin in April and continue through July.
The mask remarks came toward the end of the segment, after discussing school re-openings and the gradual relaxation of restrictions. George asked the following question: “When you say need for masks, you mean for quite some time—into the foreseeable future—a year, two years, three years?”
Fauci replied: “I’m not so sure it’s measured in years, George, but I think until we get the level of virus to such a low level in the community, and I had said a projection—and it’s only a projection—that hopefully by the time we get all the people vaccinated, let’s say 70-85 percent of the people vaccinated, the level of virus in the community could be so low that you could start pulling back a bit on what are stringent public health measures. You don’t want to do it all at once, but I think we’re going to be wearing masks for several, several months into the future.”
Essentially he’s saying that mask mandates can be relaxed once we reach herd immunity, which is slated to happen sometime in late 2021. By that point the overwhelming majority of people will have had SARS-CoV-2—the virus that can cause the COVID-19 disease—through infection and/or vaccination.
SARS-CoV-2 will likely stick around with us forever, though scientists and doctors are hoping that mass vaccinations and mutating variants will lead to a significant weakening of the virus. Hopefully it becomes weak to the point where we don’t even think twice about it, just like influenza. But with our collective memory of the pandemic and the severity of our response, that may be too much to ask from society.
TRUMP’S LEGACY: The United States is Administering Vaccines at Rates Far Higher than Europe, Asia
President Trump oversaw the foundations of the US vaccination system.
The United States currently ranks fifth worldwide in distributing coronavirus vaccines to its population, with 16.6% of Americans having received at least one vaccine dose. The US trails Israel, the United Kingdom Chile and Bahrain, three much smaller countries and one large one. The US maintains a strong lead on other western democracies, with most European countries having vaccinated less than 7% of their populations.
As of March 5th, Israel is the only country to have vaccinated more than 50% of its population. The UK has vaccinated just over 30%, with Bahrain and Chile around 20%. For a nation of 330 million people, the high US vaccination rate represents a medical and scientific achievement.
Plans to manufacture and distribute the vaccine were largely formed under President Trump’s administration, with the then-President spurring the military, pharmaceutical companies, state governments and federal drug regulatory agencies to expedite the vaccine. His efforts appear to be paying off in his successor’s reign, with no other large country proving close as successful to the United States in distributing vaccines.
Experts agree that the United States had suffered from an elevated death rate due to a high level of obesity and other comorbidities among the national population, and free movement between the union’s states. Nations in Europe and across the world had the luxury of closing off their national borders and essentially isolating small populations of several million people, a factor that President Trump’s critics largely ignored in assessing federal handling of the coronavirus epidemic.
The US was already a world leader in vaccine distribution when Trump left office, holding the fourth place spot in world vaccination rates before Biden entered office. Biden claimed that President Trump had failed to develop a vaccine distribution plan, even after he himself personally received the vaccine while his predecessor was still President. Trump urged his supporters to receive the vaccine in his CPAC speech last weekend.
Sadly, with the media proving successful at spinning a narrative insisting that President Trump had mismanaged the coronavirus pandemic, it remains entirely unclear if the former President will receive the credit he deserves for overseeing the momentous scientific and medical project.
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