As hopes for a vaccine take over the headlines, the reality right now is: there isn't one. Yet. So Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, went on All in With Chris Hayes to discuss, yes, the vaccine, but also how you can stay safe today, right now. Read on to hear his essential advice, and to protect your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci Says Bars Should Remain Closed
About bars staying closed, Dr. Fauci says: "I totally agree." Yet they are reopening now in states like Florida, a former COVID hotspot. "In fact, the CDC just came out—if you go onto the website of a figure, that's really telling it shows the odds of risk of different types of situations that give you a higher risk of transmissibility and coming right out at you from the figure is restaurants, bars, and gyms. When you have restaurants indoors in a situation where you have a high degree of infection in the community, you're not wearing a mask, that's a problem. And that's the reason why we have very, very clear when we make a recommendation, depending upon the level of infection in the community, you've got to look very carefully at things like bars are a really important place of spreading of infection. There's no doubt about that. And that becomes particularly important if you happen to be in an area with a high degree of community spread. So those are things that are crystal clear."
Dr. Fauci Said Comparing Masks and Vaccines is a False Comparison
CDC director Robert Redfield said masks may be a more effective protection against coronavirus than any potential vaccine, but Fauci clarified: "I think there was some misinterpretation about that. What Dr. Redfield was saying that until we have a vaccine, masking, physical distance, and avoiding crowds is the public health proven way to go. I wouldn't want to be comparing efficacy of a vaccine versus a mask. There are two independent ways that we want to synergize with each other."
And He Added: Masks are Awesome
"This is really important that people wear masks. And when we see big crowded events and people not wearing masks, that's not good. I have been crystal clear for a long time. Yes. And what I had been saying, I don't think there's any ambiguity of what I've been saying. Masks are important. They're effective combined with physical distancing, avoiding crowds and washing hands. And it works. End of story."
Dr. Fauci Said When We'd Return to 'Normality'
Regarding the vaccine, Fauci said who'd get it first: "You want to get the people who would benefit most and who need it the most like healthcare workers, like those with underlying conditions like those with the elderly….There will be enough doses in the first quarter that if you vaccinated everybody, you would be able to do that… What we know about what happens when you roll out vaccines, that people often hesitate, right? And even though the vaccines are there to be able to administer, people may say, well, you know, I want to wait until a number of millions of people get vaccinated before I decide I want to. What that means from a practical standpoint is that when we talk about, when do we have enough of America vaccinated that we can start to feel we're going to get back to some form of normality. That very likely will be…somewhere in the third and early part of the fourth quarter of 2021."
Dr. Fauci Says He'll Take the Vaccine
"Yes," he answered when asked if he'd take the vaccine. "There are multiple fail safe measures that are going to be pretty transparent. And let me just take a quick moment to explain that. There's what's called the data and safety monitoring board associated with the vaccine trial, an independent group beholding to no one—not to the government, not to the FDA, not to the drug company, not to me.They will look at the data, they will analyze it and they will determine is there statistically enough information there to say that is effective? And then obviously the safety issues come up. When you get an adverse event, once that information becomes available, the company will go to the FDA and say, we would like to either apply for an application for a vaccine license or do an emergency use authorization."
"The FDA will make the judgment as to whether or not according to their criteria that it's worth doing that," he continued. "And they will be advisory bodies and they will be people like me, like the director of the NIH, who'll be looking at that. And I can tell you that there will be a degree of transparency. No, obviously there's a lot of talk about political pressure, but the one thing we need to rely on the FDA has made it very clear explicitly that they will not be influenced by political considerations. We at the NIH and the scientific community are very adamant about that. So if in fact it looks like that vaccine is safe and effective. I can tell the American public that I will take the vaccine when it's available to me. And I will recommend to my family that they take it."
Dr. Fauci Would Not Comment on Politics but Did Share a Message Meant to Reassure
"The only thing I can say is that there are a lot of people are…driven by the truth. And I think the American people should feel confidence in that, that a lot of people are looking at this very, very carefully to make sure that there's not political things that drive what should be scientific considerations. I'm one of them. And I have a number of colleagues that are with me, what adds up to us suppressing the virus." As for yourself: to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.