A COVID-19 vaccine would likely not be an immediate, complete solution to Broadway’s woes, suggests Dr. Anthony Fauci, who noted in an interview this week that it could take a year of reliable vaccine usage before theatergoers could safely attend shows without masks.
Asked by Garner, “When are we going to be able to sit in a theater and watch our favorite performers up on stage again?”, Fauci responded, “I think it’s going to be a combination of a vaccine that has been around for almost a year and good public-health measures.”
Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the nation’s top COVID expert, was specifically referring to attending theater without wearing masks.
Said Fauci, “If we have a vaccine that’s a knockout vaccine that’s 85% to 90% effective — I don’t think we’ll get that, I’ll settle for 70% effective – [but] if we get a really good vaccine and just about everybody gets vaccinated, you’ll have a degree of immunity in the general community that I think you can walk into a theater without a mask and feel like it’s comfortable that you aren’t going to be at risk.”
Fauci predicted the maskless theater scenario could arrive by mid- to late-2021.
The doctor doubted that the safety of potential specific vaccines would be determined before this November – contradicting President Donald Trump’s repeated predictions of a vaccine by Election Day – and cautioned that even if a vaccine arrives this fall most people could not receive the drug until fall 2021, with frontline medical workers, people with preexisting conditions, essential workers and then children likely to take priority before the general population.
Yesterday, Fauci reiterated the timeline, saying in a panel discussion with Harvard Medical School he thinks a vaccine approval is likely by the beginning of 2021. “We need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter because it’s not going to be easy,” Fauci said.
Watch the Garner interview below. The theater discussion comes at the 35:16 mark.