"By the time we get to the early to mid-fall, you can have people feeling safe performing onstage as well as people in the audience," Dr. Fauci said.
Aside from those who crowded a fated Chainsmokers concert in the Hamptons last summer, music fans in the United States are going on a year without a typical live music experience.
Though livestreams and drive-ins have been able to hold most of us over in the meantime, social distancing regulations have taken a big emotional toll on concert goers — not to mention the financial burdens it's ravaged on artists as well as independent venues, which are closing by the numbers nationwide. Things might be looking up by the end of 2021, though.
The New York Times reports that Dr. Anthony Fauci recently hopped on a conference call in which he discussed the fate of live music with performance arts professionals. He said he believes that venues and theaters could reopen once 70 percent to 85 percent of the population is vaccinated, achieving herd immunity.
"If everything goes right, this will occur some time in the fall of 2021," Dr. Fauci said. "By the time we get to the early to mid-fall, you can have people feeling safe performing onstage as well as people in the audience."
Of course, this all depends on the vaccine rollout, which has been way behind schedule. While healthcare workers and high-risk individuals begin receiving their first doses, most Americans are unsure when they'll be able to get vaccinated. Still, Dr. Fauci seems positive about the return of live music, so long as people continue practicing basic health precautions such as social distancing, wearing masks, and frequent hand washing.
"We'll be back in the theaters — performers will be performing, audiences will be enjoying it," Dr. Fauci said. "It will happen."
Health experts have been predicting live music would come back in fall 2021 since the early weeks of the pandemic, a date that once felt excruciatingly far away. At this point, though, we'll take any glimmer of hope that we can get.