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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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When Americans begin receiving a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, that won’t be the end of wearing masks, according to the nation’s top infectious disease expert.
The federal and state governments are putting wheels in motion so that the American people will soon be offered innoculation against a disease which has been overwhelming medical providers and killing as many as more than 3,000 people a day–or nearly 300,000 in the United States.
But as much as most Americans are looking forward to a vaccine and many complain about mask-wearing, a vaccine won’t immediately put an end to this new ritual of masking up, said Dr Anthony Fauci, who worked with Donald Trump and has been tapped as an adviser for President-elect Biden.
“Well, the answer is, unless you get the overwhelming majority of the country vaccinated and protected and get that umbrella of what we call herd immunity, there’s still a lot of virus out there,” said Dr Fauci, who heads up the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. “So just because you’re protected, so-called protected by the vaccine, you should need to remember that you could be prevented from getting clinical disease and still have the virus that is in your nasopharynx because you could get infected. We’re not sure at this point that the vaccine protects you against getting infected. We know for sure it’s very, very good, 94 percent, 95 percent in protecting you against clinically recognizable disease, and almost 100 percent in protecting you for severe disease.
“But until you have virus that is so low in society, we as a nation need to continue to wear the mask, to keep the physical distance, to avoid crowds,” he added. “We’re not through with this just because we’re starting a vaccine program. Even though you as an individual might have gotten vaccinated, it is not over by any means. We still have a long way to go and we’ve got to get as many people as possible vaccinated, of all groups.”
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