• In a new coronavirus update White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci shared, he reiterated two things that have to happen in order for the coronavirus pandemic to end.
  • Dr. Fauci’s two solutions to the pandemic are no big secret — widespread vaccination and universal adherence to public health measures like face masks are the only things that he says will end the pandemic.
  • Also Thursday, Dr. Fauci delivered a message to the World Health Organization emphasizing the US desire to remain a WHO partner under President Biden.

The day after President Biden was inaugurated and his new White House press secretary Jen Psaki promised that the administration would bring back “truth and transparency” in its briefings with the press, Biden himself shared a coronavirus update that put that promise into action. Whereas the Trump administration, for example, had disassembled, de-emphasized bad news, and tried to focus only on positive things before largely ignoring COVID news altogether, Biden told reporters on Thursday that the US is likely to pass another grim milestone in February — more than 500,000 lives lost as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Continuing his remarks with reporters on Thursday, Biden excoriated the COVID vaccine rollout that began under the Trump administration as “a dismal failure so far” and warned that “things are going to continue to get worse before they get better.” Continued Biden: “Our plan is to restore public trust. We will make sure that … scientists and public health experts will speak directly to you. That’s why you’re going to be hearing a lot from Dr. Fauci again, not the President — from the real, genuine experts and scientists.” So, speaking from that, how about the latest from Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical advisor?

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In an interview with the Harvard Business Review, Dr. Fauci laid out the two key things that need to happen together in order to bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic.

Moreover, he stressed, these two things are the only way the pandemic will end. Dr. Fauci says there has to be a near-universal adherence to public health measures like wearing face masks. And a substantial portion of the US population needs to receive a COVID vaccination.

“As I said, and I believe this will turn out to be true … if we can get (70%-85%) of the population of this country vaccinated, fully vaccinated, and we do it expeditiously over a period of several months, then we will have an umbrella or a cloak, or what have you, of herd immunity that would really completely turn around the dynamics of the outbreak,” Dr. Fauci said.

However, “we can’t have 30 to 40 to 50% of people reluctant to be vaccinated. We’ve got to get the overwhelming majority of people vaccinated because when you do that, metaphorically, the virus has no place to go. It looks for susceptibles, but there are no susceptibles — that’s the point. There may be some, but they’re protected by the overall protection of what we call herd immunity.”

In the meantime, here’s where things stand now, according to the latest coronavirus update from Johns Hopkins University: To-date, more than 24.5 million coronavirus cases have been identified in the US. Additionally, more than 408,000 deaths in the US have now been reported as a result of the virus.

In addition to the executive orders Biden signed on Thursday to try and turns those trends around — codifying a cohesive, strategic federal response to the pandemic that had been lacking during the Trump administration — the day following the president’s inauguration also saw the US reverse something else that came about during the Trump administration. Pulling out of the World Health Organization, a development that’s now been reversed.

Dr. Fauci conveyed the message himself in a video message to the organization. “Under trying circumstances, this organization has rallied the scientific and research and development community to accelerate vaccines, therapies and diagnostics,” Dr. Fauci said, adding that the WHO has “relentlessly worked with nations in their fight against COVID-19.”

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.