“If by the time we get to the Fourth of July, with the rollout of the vaccine, we get the level of infection so low — I’m not going to be able to tell you exactly what the specific guidelines of the (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) are, but I can tell you for sure (guidelines) will be much more liberal than they are right now about what you can do,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“They had a diminution of cases. They plateaued and they pulled back on public health measures,” he said. “They’ve opened restaurants. They’ve opened some of the bars. The younger people particularly stopped wearing masks. All of a sudden you have a surge that went right back up.”
He continued: “That’s where we are right now. We can avoid that, Jake. We can avoid that if we continue to vaccinate people, get more and more protection without all of a sudden pulling back on public health measures.”
“I can tell you and promise you, I talk to the CDC, to (Director Rochelle Walensky) every single day,” he said. “She is acutely aware of the accumulation of data and the fact that her team will be acting on the data the way they always do.”
“We can do it today. All we need is the vaccines from the federal government,” he said. “We can’t purchase vaccines. We can’t manufacture vaccines. So if the President and his team is able to deliver, we don’t have to wait until May 1, we can get there faster.”
In announcing his plan last week, Biden laid out new steps the administration believes makes the May 1 timeline realistic, including expanding the types of professionals who are able to administer vaccine shots. Dentists, veterinarians and paramedics will all be included in the new approved list.
This story has been updated with additional details Sunday.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak, Jeff Zeleny and Jen Christensen contributed to this report.
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