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Dr. Fauci Says When We'll Be Close to "100% Normal"

It all depends on who gets vaccinated.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gestures after receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

This year's holiday season looked different for most Americans, as health experts and organizations discouraged group gatherings in order to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic going from bad to worse. As we enter into 2021, with the first Americans getting the highly anticipated Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, many people are wondering when we can all start gathering safely together again. During a Newsday Q&A with Long Islanders, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, revealed the answer. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

It Depends on Who Gets the Vaccine

Dr. Fauci explained that it all boils down to herd immunity, and when we will achieve it via vaccination. "If things go the way we plan and hope they do, and we start getting to vaccinate the general public, namely people who are not in a priority group, if we can start that in April and then very aggressively vaccinate people from April, may, June, July, and August, I would hope that by the time we get to the fall of 2021, late September, October, November, that we will be able to approach a strong degree of normality," he revealed. 

"Maybe not a hundred percent normal, but enough to get people to eat in restaurants, to be able to go to the theater, to be able to watch a sports event, to feel very comfortable with the schools," he continued. "I believe if we do it right, we can do that this coming fall." 

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How Many People Need to Be Vaccinated for Herd Immunity to Be a Reality?

However, "if people don't get vaccinated, you're not going to achieve the level of vaccination that's required for herd immunity," he reminds. How many will have to be vaccinated to achieve this sort of protection? 

"We don't know precisely a hundred percent what the level of vaccination you need for herd immunity for COVID-19. However, you can make a guesstimate, an extrapolation by saying since COVID-19 is not as transmissible and contagious as measles and since the vaccine is 94, 95, but not 98% effective," he continued. "So I, and many of my colleagues in public health feel that the range is likely between 70 and 85% of the population would need to be vaccinated in order to get herd immunity against COVID-19 full well, knowing that we don't know for sure what that number is."

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

How to Survive This Pandemic

As for yourself, 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.