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Fauci On When We Can Return To ‘Normal Life’ Amid Pandemic

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The U.S. is still a year or more away from returning to normal. That is according to the country’s top infectious diseases expert who said COVID-19 would continue to affect more people since the medical community has yet to create a safe and effective vaccine.

Some people thought that the country already moved forward in its fights against the novel coronavirus because several states started reopening efforts. But Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said lifting lockdowns could contribute to new waves of infections. 

“I would hope to get to some degree of real normality within a year or so,” he told the Telegraph. “But I don’t think it’s this winter or fall, we’ll be seeing it for a bit more.”

Following the announcement of reopening plans in March, more than 20 states saw an increase in daily new coronavirus cases. The spike forced Oregon and Utah to delay plans to resume business operations and ease restrictions to investigate the new cases, Reuters reported.

Fauci also said the ongoing demonstrations and campaign rallies across the U.S. may also play a role in the resurgence of COVID-19. Health experts and authorities have been warning large gatherings could significantly increase the risk of exposure to the disease. 

“I’m concerned it’s happening. I hope the individual states can blunt that,” Fauci said. “It could go on for a couple of cycles, coming back and forth.”

Another disease expert said the U.S. would see significantly higher cases of coronavirus infections before it could end the epidemic. The virus has only infected nearly 5 percent of the population, according to Michael Osterholm, PhD, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. 

He said that for COVID-19 “to rest” it should affect 60 perent to 70 percent of all people in the country. But Osterholm explained that “rest” only means spread of the disease will significantly slow down but infections will still occur, WebMD reported Monday.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) backs Osterholm in the potential rise in new cases of COVID-19. The agency said that based on national forecasts, the country will record 124,000 to 140,000 deaths because of the disease by July 4.

Majority of the new deaths are expected to come from Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, North Carolina, Utah and Vermont. Fauci described the COVID-19 pandemic as his “worst nightmare” because of the uncertainty and its devastating effects. 

However, he expressed confidence that “it will end.” Several trials recently moved forward in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine and Fauci said the world may see two or three successful efforts this year or early in 2021.

Anthony Fauci Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH). National Institutes of Health via flickr

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