Biden Envisions Life With Fewer Masks, Less Social Distancing If Pandemic Response Goes Well

February 17, 2021 Updated: February 17, 2021

President Joe Biden believes that by the end of the year, life in America will be less onerous in terms of restrictions relating to COVID-19, but cautioned that he could be wrong.

“All the experts, all the committee that I put together—the leading researchers in the world and the United States are on this committee of mine, headed by Dr. [Anthony] Fauci and others—they tell me be careful not to predict things that you don’t know for certain what’s going to happen, because you’ll then be held accountable,” Biden said Tuesday.

“I get that. But let me tell you what I think based on all that I’ve learned and all that I’ve studied and all that I think that I know.”

Biden said he was optimistic in part because of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is being considered for emergency use authorization by drug regulators after its underwhelming clinical trial.

With that vaccine and the two already authorized, there’s a “high probability” that transmission of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, will “diminish considerably because of what they call herd immunity,” Biden continued.

Experts now say around 70 percent of Americans must be vaccinated or have had the disease, which would give them antibodies against future infections, to achieve herd immunity, according to the president.

There’s nowhere near a consensus for that figure. Fauci, for example, has shifted his projection for when herd immunity would be reached, saying that the projections “are pure estimates.”

“If that works that way, as my mother would say, with the grace of God and the good will of the neighbors, that by next Christmas I think we’ll be in a very different circumstance, God willing, than we are today,” Biden added on Tuesday. “A year from now, I think that there’ll be significantly fewer people having to be socially distanced, have to wear masks, etc. But we don’t know. So I don’t want to over-promise anything here. I told you when I ran and when I got elected, I will always level with you.”

Biden, speaking at a CNN town hall, also said: “We don’t know for certain. But it is highly unlikely that by the beginning of next year’s traditional school year in September we are not significantly better off than we are today.”

While not wearing a mask himself, he encouraged people to continue wearing masks, social distancing, and washing their hands with hot water, saying those measures “can save a lot of lives while we’re getting to this point with herd immunity.”

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