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Fauci predicts 'herd immunity' for U.S. by late spring or early summer

The government's top infectious disease doctor said the milestone could be reached after vaccines are more widely deployed.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted Monday that the United States could achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 by "the end of the second quarter 2021" after vaccines are more widely deployed.

Speaking to MSNBC's Hallie Jackson, Fauci — director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — said that, depending on the "efficiency of the rollout," the Covid-19 vaccines should be widely available to most Americans by spring.

Depending on whether enough people can be persuaded to get inoculated, he said, it could be "sometime by the end of March, the beginning of April, that the normal healthy man and woman in the street who has no underlying conditions would likely get it."

Fauci said he hopes that by late spring or early summer, the U.S. will attain "that umbrella of herd immunity."

"By the time we get to the fall, we can start approaching some degree of relief where the level of infection will be so low in society we can start essentially approaching some form of normality," he said.

He said extraordinary public health measures — such as mask usage, event cancellations and enhanced hygiene protocols — are likely to continue "several months into the second half and beyond of 2021."

"Only when you get the level of infection in society so low that it's no longer a public health threat can you then think about the possibility of then pulling back on public health measures," Fauci said.

To encourage others, Fauci also volunteered to be vaccinated publicly as soon as possible.

"As soon as my turn comes up, which likely will be very soon, I’m going to be available to get vaccinated publicly, so that people can see that I feel strongly that this is something we should do," he said.