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Fauci believes Biden ‘will attain’ July 4 70% vaccine goal

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, believes the Biden administration will reach its goal of 70 percent of American adults receiving at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 4.

"If we get to the president’s goal, which I believe we will attain, of getting 70% of the people getting at least one dose by July 4, adults, that is, there will be enough protection in the community that I really don’t foresee that there being the risk of a surge, provided we continue to get people vaccinated at the rate we have now," Fauci, the director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Washington Post in an interview posted Friday.

While Fauci admitted that several factors remain uncertain during the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted that data indicating the high effectiveness of the vaccine, combined with a substantial proportion of the population vaccinated, makes the possibility of another surge in the country "quite low." 

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"The chances of there being a surge are extraordinarily low," Fauci said. "You don’t want to declare victory prematurely, and it's for that reason why we're continuing to put the push on to get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can."

On Friday during a White House COVID-19 response team press briefing, Fauci illustrated the effectiveness of the vaccine, citing several studies, including one which Fauci said "is a reflection of what is likely a mini version within the nursing home setting of herd immunity." 

Researchers analyzed data from Genesis HealthCare, which included more than 18,000 people living in 280 nursing homes across 20 states.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found of the 13,048 residents who were fully vaccinated, just 38 people ended up being diagnosed with a coronavirus. 

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Meanwhile, the study also determined vaccinated people helped protect residents who were not vaccinated. Among unvaccinated residents, incident cases decreased from 173 cases (4.3% of unvaccinated residents) within 0 to 14 days after the first vaccination clinic to 12 cases (0.3%) at more than 42 days after the clinic.

As of Thursday, more than 351 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been delivered and nearly 280 million administered, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.