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Dr. Fauci Just Said When We Will Get Back to Normal

"It depends how quickly and how many people want to get vaccinated,” he says.
woman taking off white protective face mask

With "the worst yet to come" when it comes to coronavirus cases and deaths—and ICUs across the country overflowing—the idea of "normal" is out the window. But it may come back. The FDA is likely to approve a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as tomorrow, with the first vaccinations likely happening next week. They are the first steps in the long road back to recovery. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been tracking the disease since the beginning, and predicted Thursday when we'd get "back to normal." Read on to hear what he thinks, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

We Could Be Back to Normal "Certainly Into the Fall"—With a Catch

So when do we get back to normal? "It depends how quickly and how many people want to get vaccinated," Fauci told CNN's Chris Cuomo.  "If we have a smooth vaccination program where everybody steps to the plate quickly, we could get back to some form of normality reasonably quickly into the summer and certainly into the fall." 

"My hope and my projection is that if we get people vaccinated en masse so that we get that large percentage of the population, as we get into the fall, we can get real comfort about people being in schools, safe in school," Fauci said. "That's what I hope and project we would do if we get everybody vaccinated."

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Why it's Taking This Long to Approve the Vaccine

Fauci defended the length of the approval process, in which the CDC had to make a recommendation to the US Food and Drug Administration, which had to then hear the recommendation of a Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee before approving it for emergency-use authorization (EUA), which may happen tomorrow. "The reason I think this is so important is that we want to make sure that we impress the American public, that decisions that involve their health and safety are made outside of the realm of politics, outside of the realm of self-aggrandizement and are made, and that in essence, by independent groups," he said, likely addressing the fact that many Americans feel the vaccine was "rushed out," possibly at the command of President Trump. "So it was a very important step this evening, late, you know, around five o'clock or so when the decision was made now, the FDA will take under consideration that recommendation and will very likely act on it quite soon."

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How to Stay Alive During the Pandemic

As for yourself, follow his fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live, because the vaccine is not here yet—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene and to protect your life and the lives of others, and don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.