Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a prominent member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that even after a COVID vaccine is available, people should not abandon masking and “social distancing.”
On Sunday’s State of the Union, Tapper asked, if "once the process is complete, does that mean [people] can take off their masks, they don't have to social distance, they can just go about their lives as before?"
Fauci said, "I would recommend that that is not the case. I would recommend you have an added area of protection…. I would recommend to people to not abandon all public health measures just because you’ve been vaccinated, because even though, for the general population, it might be 90 to 95 percent effective, you don't necessarily know, for you, how effective it is.”
“So, when I get vaccinated, which I hope to when it becomes my turn to get vaccinated, I'm not going to abandon completely public health measures,” said Fauci. “I could feel more relaxed, in essentially not having the stringency of it that we have right now, but I think abandoning it completely would not be a good idea.”
Fauci then predicted that the coronavirus restrictions on day-to-day living will not disappear until at least “well into 2021.”
“It’s not going to be a light switch, Jake,” he said. “We’re 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.”
During an event hosted by the Washington National Cathedral on Thursday, called COVID-19: Where Do We Go From Here? Dr. Fauci stated that people should repress the spirit of freedom inside of them and “do what you are told” when it comes to following lockdown orders from health officials and governors.
“We are not a country that would accept if a ruler tells us, ‘you must do this,’” said Fauci. “I was talking with our U.K colleagues just today who were saying the U.K is very similar to where we are now in outbreak, because each of our countries have that independent spirit and we don’t want to be told what to do. Well, I understand that, but now is the time to do what you’re told.”