Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke with NBC New York December 1 to discuss various aspects of the coronavirus pandemic as it stands today, including his outlook on vaccine distribution in the hopefully near future and what that could mean for the return of live entertainment, particularly Broadway.
Back in September, Dr. Fauci said (in an interview with Jennifer Garner) that he suspected it would take about a year for a vaccine to be available—in addition to continued public health measures—before “you’ll have a degree of immunity in a general community that I think you could walk into a theatre without a mask and feel like it’s comfortable—that you’re not going to be at risk.”
The medical expert doubled down on the necessity of effective vaccine rollout for this to happen, though his thoughts on a feasible timeline are a bit more optimistic than before, with vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna nearing US Food and Drug Administration authorization.
“We have a very efficacious vaccine—94–95 percent—much more than we had actually anticipated,” Dr. Fauci says in the recent interview (in September, he said he’d “settle for” 70 percent). “Now that we have that extraordinary tool to our disposal, we’ve got to make sure people get vaccinated. So if 75–85 percent of the people in the country get vaccinated as the vaccine becomes available to the general public—not speaking of the people at the highest priority, the broad general public—through April, May, and June… you can get back to normal or at least approaching close to normal as you get into the late summer and early fall.”
Dr. Fauci stresses that the battle is not just the development of the vaccine, but also ensuring it is administered on a wide enough scale, which would demand both effective allocation and trust from the general public. Given Broadway and the New York’s economic reliance on tourism, this would need to happen on a national scale. “It’s really going to be up to us as a community to realize that getting vaccinated is the gateway to getting out of this dilemma that we’re in.”
Currently, all Broadway shows will remain dark through May 30, 2021.