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Dr. Fauci Just Said How to "Crush" COVID

But only if the majority of people get vaccinated.
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony S. Fauci attends a coronavirus update briefing Tuesday, April 7, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House.

It has been less than a year since the United States confirmed their first case of COVID-19, and over 300,000 American lives have been lost. This week, the first injections of Pfizer's highly anticipated vaccine were administered, giving the country a little bit of hope that by next year, life will start a gradual return to normalcy. But when exactly will her immunity be achieved? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, spoke to NPR's Rachel Martin on Tuesday and weighed in on when that will happen. Read on to hear his warning, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

We Are in the "Beginning" of the "End Game"

"We have now the beginning of what will ultimately be the end game of this pandemic, namely vaccinating people," Fauci explained, adding that "we have still a raging outbreak that we need to get under control" — and following his fundamentals will still be key. 

"So at the same time, as we're administering the vaccine as quickly and as expeditiously as possible, we still have to implement the public health measures to prevent the surges that we're seeing throughout the country. So it's really bittersweet," he continued. 

He urged the importance of everyone getting the vaccine, promising that it is not only incredibly effective but also safe. "If you look at what goes on historically with vaccines overwhelmingly, they are the safest and most effective interventions in medicine. When it comes to infectious diseases, we've got to keep trying to get that message out because it's to the benefit of the individual, but to the benefit of the entire society," he said. 

RELATED: 7 Tips You Must Follow to Avoid COVID, Say Doctors

Here's How Many People Will Have to Get Vaccinated to Achieve Herd Immunity

So what would have to happen to achieve some sort of herd immunity. According to Fauci at least half of the population would have to get vaccinated before you start to see an impact, "but I would say 75 to 85% ratio would have to get vaccinated," he admitted. 

"If you want to have that blanket of herd immunity — mainly so many people getting vaccinated that the virus really doesn't have any place to go, essentially what we did with measles in this country, what we did with polio in this country, if you get that level of herd immunity — you could essentially crush this outbreak in this country," Fauci explained. 

However, "it's going to take a lot of effort to get that relative percentage of people to get vaccinated." Fauci is hopeful that it could happen by the end of 2021, months after the general population has the opportunity to get the vaccine. "Hopefully by the time we get to, let's say the end of March, the beginning of April, we'll be vaccinating people who otherwise are what you would say normal population—don't have any underlying conditions that would prioritize them," he explained. "Once we get there, if in the subsequent months, April, May, June, July, we get as many people vaccinated as possible, we could really turn this thing around before we get towards the end of the year."
Until you're told not to, follow his fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene and to protect your life and the lives of others, and don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.