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National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci at the White House in November. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Tuesday the U.S. could achieve herd immunity to COVID-19 by the end of next summer or fall if there's a "good uptake" of Americans vaccinating against the virus.

Driving the news: Fauci said during an online video conversation with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) he expects the general population to have access to the vaccines U.S regulators are now considering by April.

  • Fauci said if the "overwhelming majority" of Americans embraced coronavirus immunization by the end of the second quarter, the U.S. would achieve herd immunity — in which the pandemic would be curtailed as enough people in the community would be immune to the disease.

The bottom line: "That would allow you to safely get people back to school in the fall, to safely get people back to the kinds of work that would otherwise be difficult as you get to the middle and the end of the summer," he said.

  • "It's going to start in April, and it’s going to go right through the end of the second quarter of 2021."
"Once we get there, we can crush this outbreak, just the way we did with smallpox ... we just need to hang together a bit longer."

Go deeper: Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines

Go deeper

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

Jan 24, 2021 - Health

CDC director: "I can't tell you how much vaccine we have"

CDC director Rochelle Walensky, newly appointed by President Biden, told Fox News on Sunday that the administration does not know the current number of COVID vaccines available for distribution — due to a lack of data gathered by the agency under Trump — making it more difficult for states to accurately plan.

Why it matters: Hospitals in states including Texas, South Carolina, New York, and California have canceled thousands of appointments due to running low on vaccines or nearly depleting their share, the New York Times reports.