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Dr. Fauci Just Said When We'll Return to Normal

We still have a long way to go before the movies and concerts will be completely safe. 
Woman removing face mask from her face outdoors.

The COVID-19 vaccine is here, with the first Americans receiving their initial injections on Monday. While the arrival of the vaccine marks a monumental moment in the battle against the highly infectious virus, responsible for the deaths of nearly 300,000 Americans, it certainly doesn't mean that the war is won. In fact, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, we still have a long way to go before we get back to normal. During an interview with MSNBC, the nation's leading infectious disease expert revealed exactly when that will be. Read on to hear the timeline, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci Said in the Fall, "We Can Start Approaching…Normality"

Dr. Fauci has long said a return to "normality" depends on how many Americans get the vaccine. "I had been saying by my calculation sometime by the end of the March, the beginning of April, that the normal healthy man and woman in the street who has no underlying conditions would likely get it [the vaccine]," Fauci revealed. 

"At the end of the day, the real bottom line is when do you get the majority, the overwhelming majority of the population vaccinated so you can get that umbrella of herd immunity? And I believe if we're efficient about it and we convince people to get vaccinated, we can accomplish that by the end of the second quarter of 2021, namely by the end of the late spring, early summer," he continued. 

"I believe we can get there by then so that by the time we get into the fall, we can start approaching some degree of relief where the level of infection will be so low in society we can essentially approach some form of normality."

However, for life to really feel normal again — like when masks will no longer be a requirement and concerts and movie theaters will be completely safe — it is going to be quite a bit longer. "That may take several months into the second half and beyond 2021," he revealed. 

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How to Stay Safe—and Keep Others Safe—During the Pandemic

Until then, and possibly beyond, he recommends taking precautionary measures. "I've actually said this every day and written about it, that a vaccine right now is not a substitute for the normal standard public health measures of wearing a mask, keeping your distance, avoiding congregate, crowded sections, and particularly indoors. It's not a substitute. It compliments it." 

"Only when you get the level of infection in society so low that it's no longer a public health threat can you then think about the possibility of pulling back on public health measures." So follow the fundamentals, no matter where you live—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.