Dr. Anthony Fauci, U.S. President Joe Biden’s top coronavirus adviser, said Sunday he is optimistic the country can return to some sense of normalcy by the annual July 4 independence celebration, but that precautions still need to be taken in the meantime to avert a new surge in infections.
The United States is picking up the pace of coronavirus vaccinations, administering a new high of 3 million shots on Saturday. Fauci told news talk shows he believes the U.S. will have enough doses of vaccine by the end of May so that any American who wants a shot will be able to get one. Biden last week said all adults, not just older people, should be eligible to get a shot starting May 1.
The U.S. leader predicted families may be able to gather for small Independence Day celebrations.
“I think the Fourth of July projection is quite reasonable,” Fauci told the “Fox News Sunday” show.
But Fauci also warned the pandemic is still a danger in the United States, with the number of new cases seeming to plateau at 50,000 or 60,000 daily over the last week.
On CNN, he called it a “very vulnerable” time, citing the new increase in cases in Europe as officials there eased off coronavirus restrictions.
“We can avoid that,” Fauci said. “We need to get as many vaccinated as possible.”
He said the growing pace of vaccinations can be maintained and even increased as the U.S. opens more community health centers for vaccinations and more pharmacies start to administer shots, too.
Governors in some U.S. states have started to allow businesses to resume normal operations and told residents in their states they no longer have to wear face masks in public.
“This is absolutely no time to declare victory,” Fauci told Fox. “There’s always a risk of a surge back up.”
He contended that easing face mask directives and social distancing guidelines to stay two meters away from other people is “risky and potentially dangerous.”
Nonetheless he offered assurances that the government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is continuing to monitor the number of new infections and the pace of inoculations to see whether restrictions can be carefully lifted.
Fauci told CNN that new directives will be issued soon on how safe it is for people who have been vaccinated to travel or be in a crowd of people, or for school children to return to in-school instruction while maintaining a one-meter distance from others instead of two meters.
He said the disease control agency “wants to make sure they get it right” before issuing new directives.