For months we have heard the same spiel: wear a mask, practice social distancing, stay at home as much as possible and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. This saying has been engraved in us. We've been told that once a Wuhan coronavirus vaccine is created, deemed safe and distributed throughout the nation, we would have life back to "normal" – or as close to "normal" as we'll ever get.
According to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, that my not be the case.
"If somebody has been immunized. I guess for Pfizer it's two doses. I'm not sure what it is for Moderna or the other vaccines coming down the pipeline. But once the process is complete, does that mean they can take off their mask, they don't have to social distance, they can just go about their lives as normal as before?" CNN's Jake Tapper asked.
"You know, I would recommend that's not the case," Fauci replied, clearly hesitating. "I would recommend you have an added area of protection."
Fauci said that even though the Pfizer vaccine has shown to be 90+ percent effective, Americans should still be cautious.
"I would recommend to people not to abandon all public health measures because you've been vaccinated because, even though for the general population, it might be 90 to 95 percent effective, you don't necessarily know how – for you – how effective it is," the NIAID head explained.
When it's his time to get the Wuhan coronavirus vaccine, the doctor said he doesn't plan to "abandon public health measures" but he'll "feel more relaxed" than he currently does.
"I think abandoning [public health measures] completely would not be a good idea," Fauci said.
Tapper chimed in, adding that five to 10 percent of people who are vaccinated won't be immune to the virus, another reason for Americans to continue social distancing and mask wearing.
In case you wondered whether face masks would ever end, even post-vaccine, Dr. Fauci has your answer.— Scott Morefield (@SKMorefield) November 15, 2020
Hint: The answer is NO! pic.twitter.com/MNmjJxTSnx
If the vaccine was supposed to cure all of our problems, then why would we have to continue implementing social distancing and mask wearing? Why would we have to continue to limit gatherings and being around loved ones? Wasn't the point of the vaccine to get a grip on this pandemic so people could go back to work and school?
Say we have to continue with these strategies, as Dr. Fauci said, how long do we have to continue? Three months? Six months? A year? What is the threshold? Or is this an indefinite thing?