Fauci sees U.S. gaining control over pandemic by next fall
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In addition to upending daily social life in America, the pandemic has stifled the economy, idling millions of workers at numbers not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
On Tuesday, President-elect Joe Biden warned that it could take years to inoculate most Americans given an initial vaccine distribution rate that has lagged far behind the promises of the Trump administration. He called on Congress to approve greater funding for the endeavor.
In his comments on Wednesday, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and an adviser to Biden, said he was confident that early glitches in the vaccine campaign will be overcome.
“As we get into January, the feeling is that we’re going to gain momentum to be able to catch up,” he told Newsom, saying he expected to reach vaccine “open season,” with immunizations becoming widely available to the general public on demand, by April.
Assuming that the broad vaccination campaign progresses as it should through May, June and July, “By the time we get to the early fall, we will have enough good herd immunity to be able to really get back to some strong semblance of normality – schools, theaters, sports events, restaurants,” Fauci said.
Still, the emergence of a more highly transmissible variant of the virus could make a swift rollout of immunizations all the more critical.
The first U.S. case of the UK variant was announced by Colorado Governor Jared Polis on Tuesday. At a news conference on Wednesday, Polis described the patient infected as a National Guard soldier in his 20s who had been assigned to help deal with a COVID outbreak at a nursing home in semi-rural Elbert County, on the outskirts of the Denver metropolitan area.