Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US's leading expert on COVID-19, said theaters and cinemas likely won't be back to normal, welcoming a mask-less public, for at least another year.
Fauci told the actress Jennifer Garner during an Instagram Live broadcast on Wednesday that a vaccine would need to be out for almost a year before theaters are safe to go to without masks.
"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," Fauci said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top expert on infectious diseases, said on Wednesday that people likely wouldn't be able to safely go to theaters for at least another year.
Fauci made his prediction in a 30-minute interview with the actress Jennifer Garner on Instagram Live about vaccines, lockdowns, and the coming flu season.
As a film fan and performer, Garner asked Fauci, "When are we going to be able to sit in a theater and watch our favorite performers up on stage again?"
"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 told Garner.
Fauci said that even if a vaccine were to be finalized by this November or December, that would mean the soonest the majority of the population could be vaccinated is fall 2021.
However, Fauci has said he thinks it is "unlikely" that a vaccine will exist by November, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention telling states to prepare to roll out vaccines that month.
A vaccine would be distributed first to frontline medical workers, then to people with preexisting conditions, then to essential personnel like politicians and public-health officials, then to children, and then to the rest of the population.
It would also depend on how effective the vaccine is.
"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," Fauci said. "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."
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Fauci was specifically talking about being inside theaters without wearing a mask.
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