DENVER — Dr. Anthony Fauci joined Gov. Jared Polis for his Tuesday update on Colorado’s coronavirus response. The infectious disease expert said that “help is on the way” and vaccines will soon be available for those at highest risk.
In the meantime, Fauci said that while Thanksgiving has passed, we will continue to see “precarious risk” throughout the holiday season.
“Instead of thinking in terms of the Thanksgiving holiday and then the Christmas holiday as two separate events, I think we’re going to be looking at 30 or more days of a period of time of precarious risk,” Fauci said. “Because even though we’re so-called out of the Thanksgiving season, we are rapidly going to emerge into the season of people shopping, crowding, preparing, perhaps even the ill-advised office parties, if they can exist anymore. And then the Christmas holidays, and then New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. So we have about a month or more of a situation where it is in our hands right now to see if we can mitigate it.”
For mitigation strategies, Fauci emphasized the importance of consistent mask-wearing, physical distancing, and avoiding crowds, especially indoors.
“Help is on the way, and we are going to get out of this,” Fauci said. “We will get through this and we will be back to normal, the way we were before this particular plague hit us.”
Polis and his partner, First Gentleman Marlon Reis, both tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday.
“I am grateful to report that both of us continue to do well,” Polis said Tuesday. “Very mild symptoms.”
Polis and Fauci discussed the state’s plans for distributing a vaccine, as soon as one becomes available.
Fauci said by the end of December, there will be enough vaccine doses for about 20 million people nationwide. Fauci said these doses will be allocated to states according to population, and states will determine how to distribute them.
“Help is, in fact, on the way,” Fauci said. “Vaccines are literally on the threshold for us.”
The state of Colorado has already published an outline of how vaccines will be distributed here. In response to a question about where incarcerated people fall on the priority list, Polis said these guidelines may be revised.
Fauci said people who are not in high-risk categories will likely be able to get their first vaccine doses sometime in mid to late April.
“Once you start getting vaccine going, if you have good uptake, namely, the overwhelming majority of people want to get vaccinated, you can expeditiously vaccinate people that by the time you get to the mid, to the end of the second quarter of 2021, namely, May, June, July, August, you very likely could have overwhelming majority of the people vaccinated,” Fauci said.
Fauci said he will be among those getting the vaccine.
“I will get vaccinated when my time arrives,” he said. “I promise you that.”
Polis also said he will get the vaccine.
Fauci said if most people are vaccinated, herd immunity could be strong enough to allow people to safely get back to school and work in the fall.
“Once we get there, we can crush this outbreak,” Fauci said. “Just the way we did with smallpox, with polio, and with measles. So we can do it. We just need to hang together a bit longer.”