• White House health advisor Dr. Anthony has shared a new coronavirus update that will make anyone who’s been missing their local movie theaters a bit hopeful.
  • Dr. Fauci thinks the coronavirus pandemic will likely have improved enough by the fall such that we should be able to return to venues like movie theaters again.
  • Fauci’s caveat is that this all depends on improvement in the pace of the coronavirus vaccine rollout.

Many of us haven’t stepped foot inside of a movie theater for almost a year now, and each day’s new coronavirus update makes clear the reason why. An average of over 3,000 Americans are still dying each day from COVID-19, which means the virus is still rampaging across communities pretty much anywhere you look in the US right now. And being stuck inside an enclosed room for two hours or so with some number of strangers whose health you can’t vouch for … well, even if everyone was appropriately socially distanced and wearing face masks, which is a laughably giant “if,” too many people still don’t think visiting movie theaters is a genuinely safe activity at the moment.

Not to worry, though. White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has a prediction for when he thinks we can feel reasonably safe returning to cinemas and settling into those cushy chairs with a tub of popcorn again. The caveat: It depends on stepping up the pace of the coronavirus vaccine rollout.

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To that last point, it’s been almost a month to the day now since the US administered the first coronavirus vaccine — the one from Pfizer and BioNTech. In the month since then, things have gone … not well. According to the Bloomberg vaccine tracker, a little more than 9 million doses have been administered in the US. Contrast that with the fact that we were originally told the goal by the end of 2020 was to have something on the order of 20 million vaccinations completed.

At any rate, Dr. Fauci spoke over the weekend during the Association of Performing Arts Professionals’ virtual conference. And he thinks that by “early to mid-fall,” the coronavirus situation will have improved enough if we speed up the vaccine rollout to the point that “you can have people feeling safe performing onstage as well as people in the audience” at theaters again.

Dr. Fauci said that in addition to improving the vaccine distribution, movie theaters would need to make sure they have good ventilation systems and proper air filters — and those that do can at that point “start getting back to almost full capacity” when it comes to seating. He said it might also be a good idea for theaters and similar venues to follow the lead of the hospitality industry and require members of the audience to provide negative coronavirus test results similar to the requirement that now greets many travelers.

The bottom line, though, is that the end is in sight, both for Hollywood and for movie fans. “We’ll be back in the theaters — performers will be performing, audiences will be enjoying it,” Dr. Fauci said. “It will happen.”

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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.