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Here's When COVID Will Be "Under Control," Says Dr. Fauci

How soon might a vaccine mean a return to normal life?
Dr. Anthony Fauci

COVID-19 could be under control in the United States by the second half of 2021 if coronavirus vaccines are administered properly, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, said on Tuesday. Fauci made his prediction in response to a question at The Wall Street Journal's CEO Council Summit on Tuesday. "I believe if we get people vaccinated at a good rate, as we get into the open component where anybody can get vaccinated in April, May, June, July, I believe as we get to the end of the second quarter and into the third quarter of 2021, we can have a degree of protection community that we could start approaching normality," he said. Read on to hear how soon we back to "normality," and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

A vaccine on the way, but tough months ahead

To Fauci, who was speaking to many CEOs tuning into the virtual broadcast, normality means "getting the CEOs to feel comfortable in getting people back in their establishments, having restaurants get in full capacity, having some indoor functions that we can feel safe, like theaters and places of entertainment and sports events. I think we can get there towards the second half of 2021, if we implement the vaccine program properly." 

Yesterday, the Food & Drug Administration said that a potential vaccine by Pfizer was proven safe and effective in clinical trials. It could be approved for emergency use as early as this weekend. The vaccine was found to be 95% effective in preventing severe illness after two doses administered three weeks apart—and 50% effective after one dose. The vaccine appears to begin working 10 days after that initial dose.

The Pfizer vaccine is already being administered in the UK, which started vaccinating members of high-risk groups, like the elderly, this week.

At least two more vaccine candidates, created by Moderna and Astra-Zeneca, have completed late-stage trials. Those companies have also applied for their vaccines to be granted emergency use authorization in the U.S. 

Meanwhile, coronavirus cases are surging across the country. The U.S. has recorded more than 200,000 COVID-19 diagnoses a day for the past week, according to the COVID Tracking Project. A record number of people have been hospitalized: more than 102,000. 

Public health officials worry that this Thanksgiving may have amounted to a national super-spreader event, as many gathered indoors with relatives who may have been infectious but asymptomatic. Whether their predictions become reality should be evident in the next week.

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Says You Don't Have to Do This Anymore to Avoid COVID

How to stay alive during this pandemic

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.