Dr. Fauci Says We'll Be "Close to Back to Normal" by This Exact Date
The nation's top infectious disease expert suggests a COVID endpoint is a way's away.
We've all been waiting for the light at the end of the COVID pandemic tunnel. That's seemed closer and closer—especially now that more than 114 million Americans are fully vaccinated, which is approximately 34 percent of the U.S. population. With restaurants back open, curfews pushed back, and temperature checks being less of a concern from coast to coast, people can only hope that a COVID endpoint is near. Unfortunately, it may be a bit further off than we thought. In a May 9 interview with ABC's This Week, George Stephanopoulos asked Anthony Fauci, MD, the White House's chief COVID adviser, to give some insight into what the U.S. might look like by this time next year. Read on for Fauci's insight into when the country will be "as close to back to normal" as possible.
Dr. Fauci said the U.S. will be "close to back to normal" by Mother's Day 2021.
"I hope that next Mother's Day, we're going to see a dramatic difference than what we're seeing right now," Fauci told Stephanopoulos. "I believe that we will be about as close to back to normal as we can. And there's some conditions to that."
In order to get to that point of normalcy, Fauci said the "overwhelming proportion of the population" needs to get vaccinated. "When that happens, the virus doesn't really have any place to go. There aren't a lot of vulnerable people around," he explained. "And where there are not a lot of vulnerable people around, you're not going to see a surge. You're not going to see the kinds of numbers we see now." Thankfully, with the help of the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) thinks we will eventually "approach what we use to remember as normal before all of this tragedy happened."
Fauci also reassured pregnant women that they can safely get vaccinated.
Keeping with the theme of Mother's Day, Stephanopoulos asked Fauci what his message was to pregnant women and women trying to have kids, who might feel apprehensive about COVID vaccines. "Well, if you look at the data, George, there doesn't seem to be a problem at all," Fauci said. He noted that there's been "literally, tens and tens of thousands of women who are pregnant who've gotten vaccinated." He also assured his listeners that "there are no red flags. Nothing that looks like there's going to be any problem."
On May 5, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended in a webinar that pregnant women get vaccinated when the benefits of the jab "outweigh the potential risks." The WHO added, "It is not necessary to conduct pregnancy testing prior to vaccination; nor is there a need to delay or terminate pregnancy because of vaccination."
Despite Fauci's projection, people have started returning to a "pre-pandemic normal," an expert says.
Last month, emergency medicine physician Leana Wen, MD, told CNN's Anderson Cooper that the U.S. is moving closer to where it once was. "We're seeing restrictions being lifted in so many parts of the country, we're seeing travel at an all-time high. People are already going back to pre-pandemic normal," Wen said. "We have a pretty narrow window of opportunity to make clear what the benefits of vaccinations are. We know that these vaccines are really effective at preventing severe disease."
Another expert predicts America will be "close to normal" by July 1, 2021.
On May 2, Ashish Jha, MD, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, gave a more promising projection for when the U.S. will "feel close to normal" again. "If we keep vaccinating Americans, I think by July 1, 2021, you're going to see much of America feel close to normal," he told This Week co-anchor Martha Raddatz. "Look, it won't be 100 percent, [but] this can be pretty close to what life was like before the pandemic."