Here’s when Dr. Fauci thinks life will get back to normal

With the number of coronavirus-related infections and deaths rising across the country, it might be difficult to imagine that life might return to normal. But as with everything related to the pandemic, the country’s pandemic expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci says a return to normalcy depends on what we do to get the country there. “This is not over,” Fauci told The Berkeley Forum. “We are entering into the cool months of the winter, and our baseline of infection is around 40,000 per day, which is unacceptably high. So we’re going to have to get that down, or otherwise, we’re going to have a very tough winter in the next few months” (via YouTube). 

As far as a return to life-as-we-used-to-know-it is concerned, Fauci also says, “It’s not like turning a light switch on or off at all. And even with a vaccine, again, a vaccine is not going to be 99 percent effective. I’d love it to be but it’s not. [Because] 99 percent of the people are not going to be vaccinated, they’re not going to be want to be vaccinated.”

Because of this, Fauci says we are likely to go “into a softly, graded degree of normality.” He describes a scenario where businesses will stay open, and where people will likely still need to wear masks, and that if “we were to get a good vaccine now, we could have some degree of normality by the third to fourth quarter of 2021.”

Dr. Fauci has not wavered on masks and social distancing

In a separate interview with PBS, Fauci called COVID-19, “a formidable virus that has an extraordinary capability of being transmitted from person to person. But the kind of outbreak that we had in the United States and that many other countries have had does not necessarily have to have been inevitable.”

To keep caseloads down as we head into colder months, Fauci is asking everyone to do the same thing he has said all along: “I would say something that I have said multiple times, and I have no problem repeating it now, that what you should do to avoid acquisition and transmission of infection is the universals wearing of masks, avoiding close contact, avoiding crowded situations, trying to do things outdoors much more than indoors, and washing your hands regularly.”

As of this week, The New York Times says case numbers are still high across most of the country, with new infection surges in the upper Midwest and the West, although the national number of new cases is down from a high of more than 60,000 a day in late July. The outbreak appears to be moving out of control in Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah, while Arizona, Florida, and California have seen their case numbers fall. As of October 9, 2020, there were 7.6 million cases, and more than 210,000 deaths. 

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