Dr. Fauci on life post-vaccine and Biden's approach to the pandemic | FiveThirtyEight

Host Anna Rothschild interviews Dr. Anthony Fauci on life after a vaccine and how the next administration will approach the pandemic.
14:29 | 12/22/20

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Transcript for Dr. Fauci on life post-vaccine and Biden's approach to the pandemic | FiveThirtyEight
Doctor matching it is such a pleasure is being reviewed again thank you for making the time. It's good to be with you thank you for having me. And so let's jump raid and on Sunday. The CDC recommended that the next day is of the vaccine rollout should go to use the elderly and also Frontline essential workers have people lake teachers and grocery store workers. Of course. States console make their own decisions about could Saxony. And a nutrients as supplies run out some governors may have to make a hard choice between Frontline workers and the elderly. So what would you advise to governors. You know that is such an individual choice and it it really is no right and wrong answer to that. I think you have to do not exclude one for the other but try to do is much of the division. Eight the elderly are clearly vulnerable to the serious consequences of getting infected you want to preserve. Essential work is because you don't want society. To essentially close down because essential work is are all sick. So what I would advise the governor's. Would to be to try to strike a balance. Between both of those so you don't say well I only have a few well split them up get as many elderly people. As you can but don't completely abandon the front line essential workers. Which states do you think have the best admiral up plans so far the I'm not gonna go there. All right that's you don't want to offend half the states in the United States do you. And there's. Some states have received less vaccine and they were told they would receive how seriously does that impair. And. Well I think that's a temporary setback. Whenever you roll out. A vaccine implementation program where the goal is you know over 300 million. Vaccines and you have more than one company. It's being shipped well the distribution. Sometimes at the local level is and as well prepared as you'd like. But I think you will notice that as we get into January and February things are gonna go much more smoothly. That's great to hear. So now that we have these vaccines many people have written in asking what that means for how soon will be able to get back to life as usual. And getting to as a kind of wanna dig into the science a bit so for both of these vaccines there's an efficacy rate in the mid nineties to new kind of explain what that means. Yeah I mean you look at the data for example in the initial data from Dan and from Pfizer where you had like nine. Infections there was five in the vaccine group in ninety. In see just as simple math and you find out what the percentage of protection is. And interestingly for both of those the mode Daryn and the five's. Which are the same platform it's a messenger and a platform the results were strikingly. Similar. Very very efficacious including against serious. Disease. So what we're hoping since there are more than these two. You know the US government has either. Invested in the development. And all our. The facilitation of the testing of six candidates representing three separate platforms. And we will be seeing in the next few months. Other companies coming in with their dated because several of them are already in phase three trial like beyond some product. AstraZeneca. A noble acts those are the ones that are now on line ready to comment. Does the vaccine actually prevent transmission. We don't know. We know that it prevents. Against clinically recognizable disease as well as serious disease. It will take a bit more law time. Soo do other tests on people following the vaccination to determine. Whether or not some people got infected had no symptoms. But still were infected so the question is. The vaccine prevented them from getting symptoms but didn't prevent them from getting infected. Do they still transmit the virus and we don't know because the amounts. Of protection. Induced. By the vaccine to prevent them from getting symptoms could possibly in May be likely. Have diminished the level of virus in the nasal parents. That even though there were infected did not very efficient in transmitting the infection. If the vaccine. Does it prevent transmission what does that mean for us getting actually its usual. Well I still think it will because if you prevent infection in people Encino and 7585%. Of the people then you're already herd immunity anyway. It would be much better obviously if you could clearly prevent infection and everyone then it would be much tighter the results but you could still. Get back to a substantial degree. Of normality. By preventing significant disease or even mildly symptomatic disease as opposed to infection. What would you recommend for people that even after they get vaccinated do people still need to Wear masks and distance and do all other mitigating factors like that. The answer is yes until you get a degree of immunity that the level of infection is so low in the population. That they really is no longer a threat. Of a person getting infected because when you get virus. Right now having had the massive amount of community spread in the United States. You get down to a very very very low base line. Then you could stop pulling back. On things like mask wearing and congregating you can start going to restaurants. And going to a movie or going to a theater. But until you get. That level of virus really low buybacks and ending a substantial proportion of the people you still have to have some degree of public health measures that your implementing. There's recently been news of the new variant of the virus in the UK. From what I understand it's still kind of unclear whether this mutation actually change the virus in any meaningful way. Or whether it's just like a functionally. Irrelevant mutation that just happen to become more prevalent. In like a super spreader that something like that. How worried are you about mutations complicating the vaccines rollout. I think is important to point down. That since this is an. To think it's not gonna accumulate mutations is naive it will absolutely do that. The real question is what you ass. Does the mutation induce a functional. Difference. Does it functionally change. Right now. It's clear that this new variant is spreading pretty rapidly throughout southeastern England and another variant does in South Africa. And cause and effect is the mutation causing the increase spread. Are you seeing the increase spread of a mutation. That's after the fact we don't know that but. We need to be careful we need to file it would very carefully we know. That it almost certainly does not increase very born citizen would deadly virus number one and number two. It's extremely unlikely. That it's going to interfere with the efficacy of the vaccine. Having said that. We have to take mutation serious. You don't really have to do anything draconian. Like. Blocking any travel from one to the other yet but. You need to take it seriously enough so that if it does have a significant functional effect you can act accordingly. At this point though you're saying that we don't think it will have an effect on. That the vaccine roll out we don't act. Seems induced Polly clone only anybody's like dozens and dozens and dozens of different antibodies. So you may have one point mutation. That would obviate the effectiveness alike a monoclonal anybody. But it wouldn't obviate the effectiveness of a poly clone a response to a vaccine. I wanna sad way to talk about the future of our pandemic response. President elect Biden recently asked you to be and his chief medical advisors a personal congratulations on the new world thank you. How do you think the Biden administration will differ from the top administration in its approach to the pandemic. Well I think they'll probably be a uniformity of message instead of mixed signals I think that's going to be something that very likely will be much much more uniform. I think they'll be mullah central. Guidance as opposed to leaving the states. Completely on their own and letting them do things the way they want to do and you know I think there's going to be a lot of attention to implementing the vaccine roll out correctly not that it isn't being done well now I think. The current administration deserves a lot of credit for operation more speed for sure. Looking back on the way president -- handled the pandemic how do you think he could've saved more lives or do you think he's done a wonderful job. You're trying to get me either in one got in trouble or another type of trouble. You mean obviously they have been some bumps in the road. But in general particularly when you look at the science and the vaccine. Success that is huge I mean that's something that's. Really quite. Unprecedented. Obviously you could always look back. At your public health response and say could you have done better and the answer is of course I think any country looking back at their response. Will say that they could have done what could we have done at a well you know I think the consistency of the response I mean I've always been saying and I still say now. That. When you have of it a virus that's involving an entire country. That to have multiple different states doing things differently. When you're trying to get a uniform response and pulling together. You're not pulling together very well when you have multiple different versions of responses depending on the state. What do you think is the biggest pitfall waiting for president elect Biden as he takes over Covert response. You know I'm not sure I'm gonna try and prevent those pitfalls I can contribute in some in some way. You know I just think it's gonna be the device in this that's still in our society I think that's probably good thing that's going to be most challenging. We've been it's unfortunate that we've plowed through as starry. Pandemic like nothing we've ever seen in a 102 years. And it's been done in the context. Of a great deal device in this in society. I don't think that necessarily is going to change right away with a change of administration. So that's going to be one of the things that's going to be. I think challenging to the new administration. So near so many people. Who don't believe that this is a problem. I think it's a hoax that think it's fake news when in fact the numbers are looking square in the face telling us. How serious this really is. You know when I spoke to a few months ago we talked a bit about this as well and you said that you thought partisanship was hindering our ability to control the pandemic to some extent. How do you think we can address that as the new administration comes and. Well you know. President elect Biden has said publicly multiple times since being elected that he wants to be the president fool people. Not just the president for one segment of the population. I think if the country realizes. That we're all in this together. And that we have a president that is pulling for everybody. And I think the level of cooperation. And and and response to this outbreak will be much better. The importance of respected figures like the president and president elect and even yourself. Publicly getting the vaccine in. This is maybe a little bit of the silly question but if you can get one celebrity to get the vaccine publicly it would be. One celebrity you know you can't say one celebrity and it because it depends on what you're target. It is I mean if you want to get the young people. Who are in the minority community you might want to get a a rapper like Lil Wayne or someone to go and get vaccinated. He know if you get people who lost awestruck by. Movie actress is an act is you know you might want Leonardo DiCaprio. To get. Vaccinated I think it really depends. On what your target population is if you want to get nerds to get vaccinated then I'll get vaccinated. Love it. And all and well when do you think we can expect to start seeing life get back to normal. Well it's gonna depend on the our success. In vaccinated. What I would say an overwhelming majority of the population between seven the 85%. If we can do that. By mid to end of the summer. I think as we get into the full. October. November times like that I think we will be very close to a degree of normality. That's great to hear. And as he pushed India's next few months of uncertainty what you want Americans to keep in mind. Well. That this will end I think they need to know because a lot of people understandably have Colvin fatigue. They're exhausted with this and is very difficult to maintain. Some public health standards and public health measures when you've been doing it now almost a year you know next month. It's going to be here the first case in the United States was January 21 120. Were only like thirty days away from that right now. So I think what we need to get people's on the stand that help is on the way there's light at the end of the tunnel. And just hang in there a bit more and we're gonna be okay. Netscape well after catching those for all of my questions thank you so much for speaking with me today has always I really appreciate that. My pleasure as always good to be with him.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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