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Fauci reflects on one year of coronavirus pandemic

Norah O'Donnell
·3 min read
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In an interview with the "CBS Evening News," Dr. Anthony Fauci reflected on the past year of the coronavirus pandemic and discussed new guidelines for people who have been fully vaccinated. He had good news for grandparents: You can hug your grandchildren if you are fully vaccinated. 

The interview below has been edited for length and clarity. 

CBS News: You look at the national numbers, the U.S. is seeing about 60,000 new cases on average, roughly 1,500 deaths a day. Are you satisfied with where we are right now?

Dr. Anthony Fauci: Oh, absolutely not. We have to keep up the public health measures. That is unacceptably high. That is risky for triggering another surge. Now, we have something very much in our favor, now, because we have vaccinations. We've gotta go way down, my estimation would be clearly below 10,000 per day.

You're very plain-spoken, and people are confused about some of the guidance that came out this week. Nursing homes, visits now allowed, even by people who haven't been vaccinated? Does that make sense?

You know, the reason, if we get too strict about it and say something like, "Everybody needs to be vaccinated," by the time that happens I think there would be a lot of people who emotionally would suffer from not seeing their loved ones. It's not as if they're saying, "Don't get vaccinated." What they're saying is that as long as you wear a mask, and do all of the other things of the public health measures. But I think it's showing a quite reasonable and welcome degree of flexibility that, in the long run, is gonna be for the overall health of the people in the nursing home.

My parents are vaccinated. Is it safe for their grandkids to hug them?

The answer is yes, if your grandchildren, which I know are, are healthy. If the grandchildren are healthy. Because I've seen them, they are healthy. And the thing is, if you have a situation where either you or your children do not have an underlying condition that would make you at severe risk of getting an adverse outcome of your illness, then your mother, i.e. their grandmother, can come and hug them, if she is vaccinated.

Do you have any early indication of how children are reacting to a COVID-19 vaccine?

Thus far, not enough information to me to make a statement, but given the kinds of things we've seen with the adults, I would think that by the time we get through with the testing both in high school-age children, as well as in elementary school children, we don't project that there is gonna be any issues. 

Hindsight is 2020. What is something you wish that you knew on March 11th, 2020?

By the time we got to March, we started to see things that we didn't fully appreciate early on, namely how extraordinarily capable this virus is of spreading from person to person. If we had known that fully early on, there very likely would have been differences in how we approached it.

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