Fauci backs Biden pledge of normal Fourth of July, 3 million vaccines per day
The expert, however, expressed concern over a 'plateau' of daily infections
Dr. Anthony Fauci supports President Biden’s projection that Americans can achieve some sense of normalcy by July 4, citing the increasing number of coronavirus vaccines administered each day.
The Biden administration achieved a major milestone when approximately 3 million vaccinations were administered in one day – a target that has been touted as the tipping point for the program.
Maintaining that rate would likely allow Biden to achieve his goal of normal Fourth of July celebrations. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki downplayed Biden’s pledge, calling it "a baby step towards" normalcy, but Fauci supported Biden’s timeline.
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"Those are quite reasonable goals and expectations," Fauci told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace. "If you look at the number of vaccines that are going into people now, I think that goal of anybody 18 years of age or older will be able to get a vaccine by May 1 ... that’s quite reasonable."
"If, in fact, we do that, and we continue to vaccinate people at the rate you just heard, I think the Fourth of July projection is really quite reasonable," added Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert and key White House adviser. "I think the only thing you have to be careful of is … that plateauing."
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New daily cases have dropped over the past month, but recent figures show those numbers hitting a plateau that some officials believe is too high. Doctors still report around 50,000 to 60,000 new infections nationwide every day.
However, new studies focused on the effectiveness of the vaccines have shown a significant reduction in both community and asymptomatic spread.
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The Israel Ministry of Health studied the Pfizer vaccine and concluded that it is 94% effective in preventing asymptomatic infection.
When pressed on the sustainability of the vaccination program, Fauci argued that the current output is not only realistic but suggested that it will be surpassed.
"You’re seeing two things simultaneously: a lot more doses available and a greater efficiency and getting it into people’s arms," Fauci explained. "I’m not surprised at that number."
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"I think we’re going to maintain it, and we might even do better."
The increased efficacy may also lead to an adjustment in policy going forward. The Center for Disease Control has maintained the importance of six feet for social distancing, but that may change.
Fauci told CNN's "State of the Union" that he speaks to the CDC "every single day" about the data and possible new guidelines. One change may be to reduce social distancing to three feet in schools "under certain circumstances," but he did not clarify what those circumstances might be.
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Fauci did reveal that the CDC will issue new guidelines on school policy "within a reasonable period of time."