Fauci says Broadway could return next fall if ‘large proportion’ of nation receives COVID-19 vaccine
Broadway theaters could reopen as soon as late summer or early fall next year, Dr. Anthony Fauci said during an interview on Tuesday. When asked by WNBC anchor David Ushery about the possibility of The Great White Way shining bright again, the nation’s top infectious disease expert said it depends “on the uptake of vaccines by the people of the country and specifically the people of New York.” All 41 Broadway theaters closed on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic and ticket sales have been suspended until at least next May.
According to Fauci, the general public, meaning not frontline workers or those with underlying conditions who will be the first in line to get the vaccine, will likely have access to a vaccine beginning in April. In order for the country to return to normal, or “approaching normal,” next fall, he estimated between 75 and 85 percent of people would need to get vaccinated. A November poll from Gallup found 58 percent of Americans would get the COVID-19 vaccine when available.
“If they get vaccinated through April, May, and June, and really do a full-court press to get everybody vaccinated, you can get back to normal, or at least approaching close to normal, as you get into the late summer and early fall,” Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during the interview. “So it’s really going to be up to us as a community to realize that getting vaccinated is going to be the gateway to getting out of this dilemma that we’re in.”
When Broadway closed in March, 31 productions were running, including eight new shows in previews and eight in rehearsal. With the threat of the virus remaining, the League extended the closure through June, again through Labor Day, and then through the end of 2020. In October, the Broadway League suspended ticket sales to all shows for another seven months.
On Tuesday, a panel advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that health care workers and nursing home residents and staff should be the first to receive the vaccine. According to the New York Times, states do not have to follow the recommendation but typically do.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo released in October a preliminary strategy for prioritizing vaccine distribution, which includes healthcare workers and long-term care facility workers and patients, followed by first responders, teachers, and other essential workers, individuals over 65 and those with high-risk, and lastly will be healthy adults and children. New York’s plan to vaccinate will be based on three pillars: fairness, equity, and safety.