The world is yearning to get back to normal, but what will normal mean when mitigation efforts are eased amid the spread of COVID-19?
While members of the White House coronavirus task force are hopeful that its social distancing guidelines will minimize the spread of the virus, there is concern that a second wave will return.
Adding to the fact that a vaccine likely will not be widely available for many months, perhaps even years, adds to those concerns.
Although the current wave of coronavirus is killing more than 1,000 Americans per day, there is unease that the virus could be a repeat of the 1918 flu pandemic, which saw a second wave that was much deadlier than the first.
But would things shutdown the way they are now if a second wave comes before a vaccine is ready? If you ask Dr. Anthony Fauci, the answer is no.
Fauci, the White House’s infectious disease expert, said on Monday that while Americans may need to prepare for a new normal, he does not expect that current mitigation efforts will need to be replicated for a second wave.
“If you want to get to pre-coronavirus, that might never happen in the sense of the fact that the threat is there,” Fauci said, “but I believe with the therapies that will be coming online and the fact that I feel confident that over a period of time, we will get a good vaccine, we will never have to get back to where we are right now.”
While his declaration is promising, he also suggested getting back to life the way life was before the spread of COVID-19 might not happen until a vaccine.
“If back to normal means acting like there never was a coronavirus problem, I don’t think that is going to happen until we have a situation where you can completely protect the population,” Fauci said.
“But when we say getting back to normal, we mean something very different from what we’re going through right now,” Fauci added. “Cause right now, we’re in very intense mitigation. When we get back to normal, we will go back gradually to the point where we can function as a society.”
President Donald Trump is hopeful that the economic impact from efforts to mitigate COVID-19 will allow the US to go back to normal relatively soon.
"With the therapies and the vaccines… I think that you add the fantastic stimulus we are adding… I think we can get more than back to normal from an economic standpoint, even better,” Trump said.