The country’s top infectious disease expert is standing by his prediction that even if a COVID-19 vaccine is available by the end of this year, Americans should not expect a return to normalcy until late next year.
Dr. Anthony Fauci’s latest comments come in an interview with MSNBC Friday in which he says, “If you're talking about getting back to a degree of normality which resembles where we were prior to covid, it's going to be toward the middle of 2021, maybe even end of 2021.”
These statements come as more states are relaxing social distancing and lockdown measures; opening more theaters, gyms, salons and indoor dining.
Dr. Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, remains confident a vaccine will be available by the end of the year. However, he says just because it’s available doesn’t mean a quick return to pre-COVID life.
"But by the time you mobilize the distribution of the vaccine and get a majority or more of the population vaccinated and protected, that’s likely not going to happen until the end of 2021," Dr. Fauci told host Andrea Mitchell.
He also expressed concern about states reopening certain indoor activities, because of the increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
Dr. Fauci discusses distributing the coronavirus vaccine to the public and returning to "normality":
"If you're talking about getting back to a degree of normality, which resembles where we were prior to COVID, it's gonna be well into 2021. Maybe even towards the end of 2021." pic.twitter.com/FHhdWhSsFb
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 11, 2020
“I am concerned when I see things starting indoors, and that becomes more compelling when you move into fall and winter season,” he said.
Earlier this week, the CDC released a report based on a sampling of coronavirus patients that found adults who tested positive for COVID-19 were twice as likely to have eaten in a restaurant in the past two weeks.
However, being outside doesn’t mean a person is protected from the coronavirus, Dr. Fauci reminded viewers, encouraging people to still wear masks.