Fauci: Americans can go to theaters once a vaccine has existed for 'almost a year'

'I would think by the time we get to the end of 2021,' he said

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, believes Americans will be able to sit in theaters again once a coronavirus vaccine has existed "for almost a year."

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Fauci was responding to a question from actress Jennifer Garner about when Americans can expect to return to theaters during an interview posted to Garner's Instagram page on Thursday.

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"I think it’s going to be a combination of a vaccine that has been around for almost a year and good public-health measures," Fauci said. "I would think by the time we get to the end of 2021 — maybe even the middle of 2021."

He added that if the U.S. gets a "knock-out vaccine that's 85 [to] 90% effective," and "just about everybody gets vaccinated," society will have "a degree of immunity" that allows the general public to "walk into a theater without masks and feel like it's comfortable" that they will not be at risk of catching COVID-19.

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Fauci also clarified some theories about catching COVID-19 based on earlier studies, saying people don't need to worry too much about contracting the virus through inanimate objects such as groceries and packages, and people do not need to wear masks outside when they are very far away from others.

Movie theaters, Broadway and other in-person entertainment venues have taken a significant hit to business as a result of coronavirus lockdown restrictions that have just begun to ease across the country.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said drugmakers involved in coronavirus vaccine trials should be ready to start distributing vaccines by Nov. 1.

Three vaccines set for distribution in the U.S. from Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca are currently in the final stages of clinical trials, and President Trump suggested on Sept. 3 that a vaccine could be available as soon as October.

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