As coronavirus cases continue to increase, one of the nation’s top health experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci says there’s little chance of normalcy on the horizon
“I can foresee that even with a really good vaccine, that mask wearing will continue well into the third or fourth quarter of 2021,” Dr. Fauci said in an interview with National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins.
And only after that, “there will be a graded, gradual progression toward normalcy” in 2022, he added.
“We’ve got a long road yet to go,” Francis Collins agreed.
Dr. Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reiterated caution on the nation’s outlook.
“We’re not in a good place,” Fauci said. “Now we’re averaging about 70,000 a (day). That’s a bad position to be in.”
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, twenty-nine states set new records in October for the most new daily cases since the pandemic began.
73,240 new coronavirus cases and 985 deaths were reported on Tuesday, according to JHU.
“We’re rising quickly. If we just go back about six, seven weeks ago to Labor Day, we were at about 35,000 cases a day,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University School of Public Health.
“I would not be surprised if we end up getting to 100,000” new cases a day, Jha said.
Dr. Fauci said the good news is that right now, more than 100,000 Americans are participating in six promising, final-stage vaccine trials, with Moderna and Pfizer closest to the finish line.
The trial participants are being painstakingly monitored to see if they suffer any complications and if they show a heightened likelihood of avoiding COVID-19, he said.
“Right now, it’s wait and see — it’s wait and see the number of infections,” he said.
“What we likely will have, as the efficacy of the vaccine is shown at the population level, is we will have a gradual relaxation of some of the stringent public health measures,” Fauci said.
“I can foresee that even with a really good vaccine, that mask wearing will continue well into the third or fourth quarter of 2021,” he said.
Then “there will be a graded, gradual progression towards normality. Some examples. I believe restaurants might be able to do indoor, at moderate or full capacity,” he said.
— NIH (@NIH) October 29, 2020
“Theaters will then be able to seat people — maybe not initially at full capacity but working your way to that.
“Sports events will then have spectators very likely in graded amounts with regards to capacity,” he said.
“So that ultimately, when we get this under control, we will start to approach what we call normal. I don’t think it’s going to be at a level where there are no measures implemented until we get to the end of 2021, at least.”