Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Yahoo Sports on Monday that unrestricted sports stadium capacities will be one of “the last things that you’re gonna see” as the pandemic moves into 2021.
“We’re gonna be vaccinating the highest-priority people [from] the end of December through January, February, March,” Fauci said in the interview. “By the time you get to the general public, the people who’ll be going to the basketball games, who don’t have any underlying conditions, that’s gonna be starting the end of April, May, June. So, it probably will be well into the end of the summer before you can really feel comfortable [with full sports stadiums] – if a lot of people get vaccinated. I don’t think we’re going to be that normal in July. I think it probably would be by the end of the summer.”
Fauci said he thinks the possibility of full NBA arenas in July will be “cutting it close.” When asked about full NFL stadiums in September, he said “oh, that’s possible. I think that’s possible.”
In the interview, Fauci also said that just having an efficacious vaccine doesn’t lead to the end of the pandemic, “but an efficacious vaccine that’s widely utilized could get us to a point where we’re really approaching normality.”
“We could get there by the end of the summer, and as we get into the fall of next year,” Fauci continued. But “if 50% of the people say, ‘You know, I don’t want to get vaccinated,’ then it’s gonna take considerably longer than that.”
In the Yahoo interview, Fauci pegged the percentage of the population that need to be vaccinated at “somewhere between 75 and 85 percent,” to return to normalcy. Not hitting that threshold didn’t mean normalcy would never return, “it would just take longer,” Fauci told Yahoo Sports.