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Fauci: Don't abandon masks, social distancing after getting vaccine

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Ex-Trump doctor turned GOP lawmaker wants Biden to take cognitive test White House officials won't say if US will meet July vaccine goal MORE, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, on Sunday recommended continued protections such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing after a coronavirus vaccine becomes available.

CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperPolice investigating death of TV anchor who uncovered Clinton tarmac meeting as suicide Mississippi governor: Biden goal of 70 percent of US vaccinated by July 4 is 'arbitrary' Energy secretary: Adversaries have capability of shutting down US power grid MORE asked Fauci on "State of the Union" 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?"

"I would recommend that that is not the case. I would recommend you have an added area of protection," Fauci replied.

“Obviously, with a 90-plus percent effective vaccine, you could feel much more confident. But I would recommend to people to not abandon all public health measures just because you have 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,” he added.

Fauci added that once he receives the vaccine, he's "not going to abandon completely public health measures."

"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,” he said.

Asked by Tapper whether it would be safe for Americans to gather for holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving in 2021, Fauci said it “depends on a number of factors.”

“We are 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,” Fauci said.

Fauci also called Ron Klain, chief of staff to President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees |  Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior | Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic Poll: Majority back blanket student loan forgiveness MORE, an “excellent choice.”

“I worked very closely with Ron Klain during the Ebola outbreak. He was the — they called it a czar. He never liked that word czar. He was the coordinator. But he was absolutely terrific at the Ebola situation, where we had a very successful ultimate endgame with Ebola,” Fauci said.