- Despite an encouraging drop-off in COVID infections, Dr. Fauci warns that adhering to coronavirus safety guidelines remains as important as ever.
- Fauci in recent weeks has been urging people to stay away from places like bars, restaurants, and gyms until the US reaches herd immunity.
- With the COVID-19 vaccine supply set to increase drastically over the next few weeks, some experts believe the US could reach herd immunity before summer.
With the coronavirus infection rate dropping rapidly, and with pandemic fatigue being a very real phenomenon, it’s only natural that people these days are inclined to go back out into the world and socialize with friends and family. This urge has only been heightened in the wake of states loosening up COVID restrictions as they pertain to bar re-openings and indoor dining capacity limits.
The threat of the coronavirus, however, is still very real. What’s more, a sense of complacency can easily lead to a surge of new outbreaks. It’s a scenario that we’ve seen play out countless times in recent months: a state will see a drastic drop in COVID infections and subsequently loosen up safety restrictions, only to see a surge of new infections weeks later.
Dr. Fauci, as a result, continues to stress the importance of wearing masks, adhering to social distancing guidelines, practicing proper hand hygiene, and avoiding indoor gatherings.
The latter point is especially worth focusing on because indoor gatherings have been responsible for most coronavirus outbreaks over the past year. In light of that, Dr. Fauci has routinely listed out several places where the risk of contracting the coronavirus remains unusually high.
According to Fauci, the following places and activities should be avoided until the US reaches herd immunity:
- Religious ceremonies
- Unnecessary travel, whether it be by plane, train, or bus
- Sporting events
- Indoor gatherings at home
While some entries on the list above are currently irrelevant to the extent that theaters and concerts haven’t returned, the other items on the list are worth paying attention to. The massive surge of COVID infections we saw in the wake of the Christmas holiday, for example, illustrates how dangerous indoor gatherings can be.
As to when the US might reach herd immunity, Fauci believes it may not be until later this fall. Other health experts, however, believe we might be able to return to a sense of normalcy as early as May. The truth is that it’s hard to take any prediction too seriously given that the state of the coronavirus pandemic changes so quickly day-to-day and week-to-week.
There is, however, a reason to be optimistic.
Aside from a welcome drop in COVID infections, the vaccination effort in the US continues to pick up steam. For starters, it stands to reason that Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID vaccine will become available sometime next month. Additionally, both Pfizer and Moderna have pledged to significantly boost their supply of vaccine doses over the next few weeks. If all goes according to plan, Pfizer and Moderna will ship 140 million vaccine doses to the US over the next four and a half weeks, a quantity that will be enough to vaccinate 70 million people.