Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, said on Wednesday that the U.S. might not see “some semblances of normality” until 2022.
During a University of Melbourne panel discussion, Fauci said it’s possible a “substantial proportion of the people” will not receive a coronavirus vaccination until late next year, even if the U.S. develops and distributes a vaccine in the next few months.
“I think it will be easily by the end of 2021, and perhaps even into the next year, before we start having some semblances of normality,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said. “We’re not in a good place. Now we’re averaging about 70,000 [cases] a [day]. That’s a bad position to be in.”
Fauci also warned that if Americans want to avoid another shutdown, they must wear face masks while in public and avoid large gatherings.
He even suggested he would support a national mask mandate.
“If you don’t want to shut down, at least do the fundamental basic things, which are — really the flagship of which is wearing a mask,” Fauci said. “We can’t have this very inconsistent wearing that you see, where you see some states that absolutely refuse to wear a mask.”
Last week, Fauci urged Americans to cancel their holiday plans.
“You don’t want to be the Grinch that stole the holidays,” he said in a livestreamed interview with Dr. Howard Bauchner, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Fauci said his family has decided to forego a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner due to the risks associated with the coronavirus.
“My Thanksgiving is going to look very different this year,” he said in an interview with CBS News. “I would love to have it with my children, but my children are in three separate states throughout the country and in order for them to get here, they would all have to go to an airport, get on a plane and travel with public transportation …
“But given the fluid and dynamic nature of what’s going on right now in the spread and the uptick of infections, I think people should be very careful and prudent about social gatherings. You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering.”