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How To Return To Normalcy Without Herd Immunity

Jean Bourbonnais, left, wears a mask as she walks with Sheryl Nieman Hancock along a beach promenade Tuesday, April 27, 2021, in San Diego. Nieman Hancock is already vaccinated, and Bourbonnais plans to get her vaccine soon. U.S. health officials say fully vaccinated Americans don't need to wear masks outdoors anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers. And unvaccinated people can drop face coverings in some cases, too. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Jean Bourbonnais, left, wears a mask as she walks with Sheryl Nieman Hancock along a beach promenade Tuesday, April 27, 2021, in San Diego. Nieman Hancock is already vaccinated, and Bourbonnais plans to get her vaccine soon. U.S. health officials say fully vaccinated Americans don't need to wear masks outdoors anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers. And unvaccinated people can drop face coverings in some cases, too. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

In the past, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he’d like to see more than 75% of Americans get the vaccine. Now, Fauci and others public health experts like former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb are saying the U.S. might never reach that number. If that’s the case, how should policymakers guide the return to normal?

Guests

Rick Kriseman, mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida. (@Kriseman)

Dr. Ali Khan, professor of epidemiology and dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Author of “The Next Pandemic: On the Front Lines Against Humankind’s Gravest Dangers.” (@UNMC_DrKhan)

Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science and director of the Healthy Buildings program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (@j_g_allen)

Also Featured

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

From The Reading List

Washington Post: “Opinion: Americans will increasingly have to make their own judgments about covid-19 risks” — “The questions at the end of the pandemic are shaping up to be as challenging as those at the beginning. Do I have to wear a mask outdoors? What can I do after I’m vaccinated? When can we stop wearing masks altogether? And, the big one: What about kids?”

The Atlantic: “Don’t Wait for Herd Immunity” — “With 200 million doses administered, America’s vaccine-distribution program has been remarkably successful, but now it is hitting a wall.”

ABC News: “Florida officials denounce Gov. Ron DeSantis’ lifting of COVID-19 restrictions” — “Local Florida officials are voicing their outrage over Gov. Ron DeSantis’ suspension of all local COVID-19 emergency orders — with the St. Petersburg mayor warning his county may never hit herd immunity.”

The Atlantic: “The CDC Is Still Repeating Its Mistakes” — “Yesterday, the CDC released more relaxed mask guidelines for outdoor activities, as well as new charts for indoor and outdoor recommendations.”

Washington Post: “Biden sets new vaccine goals as White House grapples with its message” — “President Biden declared a new goal Tuesday that 70 percent of adults will have at least one coronavirus vaccine shot by the Fourth of July as the White House grappled with how to send Americans a complex message: A normal life is within reach if you get vaccinated — but the crisis is far from over, so don’t fully relax your guard.”

New York Times: “Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely in the U.S., Experts Now Believe” — “Early in the pandemic, when vaccines for the coronavirus were still just a glimmer on the horizon, the term ‘herd immunity’ came to signify the endgame: the point when enough Americans would be protected from the virus so we could be rid of the pathogen and reclaim our lives.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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