Skip to content

Dr. Fauci Warns Against Doing This Right Now

The nation’s infectious disease expert spoke with Black clergymen and women on Martin Liuther King Jr. Day.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Doctor Anthony Fauci

With new, mutant coronavirus strains threatening to be more transmissible, and COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths breaking records daily, it's never been more important that we reach herd immunity, so we can get back to "normal." That's why Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been trying to convince everyone to get their vaccine. He spoke yesterday at the Choose Health Life Black Clergy Conclave, joining Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Calvin O. Butts, and more than 100 Black clergy leaders on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to say why it's safe—and when we'll return to normality. Read on for his timeline—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Dr. Fauci Said That By Mid-Fall, We May Be Able to Congregate Again

Dr. Fauci was asked by Reverend John Vaughn from Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta (where Senator-elect Reverend Raphael Warnock was Senior Pastor): "When can we reopen? When can we expect to go back to the church when we'll be able to sing, we'll be able to do wind instruments? I mean, what's the timeline?"

It's a notable question: The CDC has found that a church choir practice was linked to COVID-19 spread. And gatherings in congregate settings—particularly indoors in potentially poorly ventilated settings—are some of the riskiest places you could go, according to Fauci, since the virus can be spread when people talk, sneeze, sing or breathe.

"Well, Reverend, the timeline is going to depend on a number of factors and it relates to a lot of what all of us are doing here today, particularly what was said by several of the people who were speaking: We need to get the overwhelming proportion of our population, 70 to 85%, at least, vaccinated," Fauci says. "And that's the reason why we're out there making sure that particularly those that are most vulnerable, such as in the African-American and Latinx population—when we do that, the level of virus in the community will be at such a low level, that we will be able to really approach a degree of normality. That's similar, maybe not identical, but similar to where we were before."

So when might you be back in the pew, praising the Lord? (Or at the nightclub, praising Camelphat? Or the theater, seeing a Broadway show?) "All of this, I would project that if we do it appropriately, effectively, and efficiently, that by the time we get to the end of the summer, the beginning of the fall, if we do get that group vaccinated, I think in the fall mid-fall, we'll be able to get back to that type of worship, which we all are longing for right now," said Fauci.

RELATED: If You Feel This, You May Have Already Had COVID, Says Dr. Fauci

Until Then, You'll Need to Observe All Public Health Measures to Stay Alive

We have to assume, Fauci said, that you can still spread COVID-19 after getting vaccinated. "It is possible that you can, we don't know the precise answer, because we're going to have to continue to do studies," he said. "But the primary endpoint of the study was to protect you from clinically recognizable disease. That was the 94 to 95% efficacy. What could happen is that you could be protected from clinically recognizable disease, still get infected, not know it, be perfectly fine with regards to symptoms, but yet have in your nasal pharynx, a degree of virus that you might be able to spread to other people. And for that reason, we say, continue to wear a mask….We need to move on the facts as we know it, which means you want to wear a mask."

So follow Fauci's 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, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more