Fauci says US could have herd immunity by end of summer 2021

The nation’s top infectious diseases expert Anthony FauciAnthony FauciWatch live: White House COVID-19 response team holds briefing Intercept reporters discuss gain-of-function research The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - DC prepares for Saturday of festivals & Jan. 6 demonstration MORE said Tuesday that the U.S could have “herd immunity” to COVID-19 by the end of the summer in 2021 if Americans across the country get vaccinated against the disease. 

In a Tuesday news conference with Colorado Gov. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisColorado Gov. Jared Polis makes history marrying long-time partner Marlon Reis Biden expresses confidence on climate in renewable energy visit Obamas, Bushes and Clintons joining new effort to help Afghan refugees MORE (D), Fauci predicted that high-risk groups of Americans, as well as health care workers and some others, could begin to be vaccinated this month, with inoculations continuing through March.

The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases director predicted that “the general population” will start being vaccinated in April.

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“Once we get there, we can crush this outbreak, just the way we did with smallpox, with polio and with measles. So we can do it, we just need to hang together a bit longer,” Fauci said.

He later added that if the U.S. has a “good uptake” for the vaccine, the country could have the “overwhelming majority of people” vaccinated by the end of the second quarter in the U.S.  

That “means you would have herd immunity that would allow you to safely get people back to school in the fall, to safely get people back to the kinds of work that would otherwise be difficult as you get to the middle and the end of the summer,” Fauci said. “So it’s going to start in April, and it’s going to go right through the end of the second quarter of 2021.”

Herd immunity is the point at which a disease stops spreading widely through a population because enough people are immune to it, either via vaccination or by recovering from an infection. 

Fauci during the news conference added that Colorado is not alone in seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases. The state has documented an uptick in infections for weeks, reporting 4,445 cases and 35 deaths on Monday alone.

States across the country have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases. Experts have warned that the pandemic is also likely to worsen in the weeks ahead following Americans traveling and gathering for the Thanksgiving holiday.