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US theatres could open by autumn, the country's next chief medical advisor says

Anthony Fauci has given an estimated timeline on the return of live shows in the USA

New York
© chensiyuan / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

At a conference held this weekend by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, infectious disease expert Dr Anthony S Fauci, who is currently a lead member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and, from later this month, is set to be Chief Medical Advisor to the President-Elect Joe Biden, suggested that theatres and other live performance venues could possibly be reopened in the USA by autumn, depending on a variety of factors.

Those factors, Fauci suggested, are mostly dependent on the countrywide vaccination rollout plan. The immunology expert said the United States must vaccinate up to 85 per cent of the population to reach what he states is an effective level of herd immunity, which he expects to take occur by the autumn 2021.

By then, he said, "You can have people feeling safe performing onstage as well as people in the audience." Venues that have strong air filtration systems might not have any restrictions if that vaccination level is reached, with the exception of requiring the audience members to wear masks, which will likely be a common occurrence.

Those main factors — vaccines, air filtration, and mask-wearing — will lead to "almost full capacity" seating by the end of the year, Fauci suggested.

The UK government has said it hopes to have all adults vaccinated by September, with those most at risk being vaccinated at the moment (the current target is for 13 million individuals, those in the most high-risk categories, to be vaccinated by mid-February). After that, it will largely be down to the speed with which the remainder of the population is vaccinated as to when measures might be eased and performances might be able to recommence.

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