CNN via Webex Cisco
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during an interview on March 4.
The US will be able to pull back on coronavirus restrictions – but not until the number of daily new infections falls far below the current number, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.
Fauci said the US should pull back gradually, after a substantial portion of the population gets vaccinated and the number of new infections has fallen well below the current 60,000 to 70,000 new cases per day.
“I would say less than 10,000 and maybe even considerably less than that,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“We will be pulling back,” Fauci said. “We’re now up to about 2 million vaccinations per day. That means every day that goes by, every week that goes by, you have more and more people protected.”
Some states, including Texas and Mississippi, moved to drop mask and social distancing mandates this week.
“There are so many reasons why you don’t want to pull back just now,” said Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
One of those reasons is the emergence of virus variants, some of which are more contagious and can reduce the efficacy of vaccines.
There will be a time to relax restrictions, “but not at a time when we have circulating variants and when you have what looks like a plateauing of the decline in the cases on a daily basis,” Fauci said.