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Dr. Fauci Just Said When We Get Back to "Normality"

Next year, your kids could be sitting on Santa’s lap.

One year ago, the holiday movie season was about to kick off, shopping centers were filled to the brink with people, and little kids were sitting on Santa's lap telling him what they wanted for Christmas. However, since COVID-19 became a threat to the health of Americans in early 2020, life as we know it has changed drastically. With a seemingly safe and effective vaccine just days to weeks away, many people are hoping there will be a return to normalcy within the next few months. On Tuesday,  Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, spoke with The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan D. Rockoff, revealing when he expects life to be "normal" again. In short, it depends on the actions of you: the American people. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

We Could "Start Approaching Normality" by Q2/Q3, Says Dr. Fauci

While a vaccine will help us return to normalcy, it will only be effective if people actually get it. "I think that if we implement the vaccine program that I've just been describing with you, John, that we can do it in the back half of 2021," Fauci revealed. 

"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 into the third quarter of the 2021, we can have a degree of protection community that we could start approaching normality in many of that over activities.

So what will normal look like? It will involve "getting the CEOs"—he mentioned CEOs because many were tuning into the Wall Street Journal livestream—"to feel comfortable in getting people back in their establishments, having restaurants get in full capacity indoor, having some indoor functions that we can feel safe," such as theaters and places of entertainment and sports events.

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Normality Depends on Enough People Taking the Vaccine

However, he reiterated that in order to get back to normal "towards the second half of 2021," we would need to "implement the vaccine program properly and aggressively." He sounds confident about the distribution. But there are hurdles, like convincing those who are anti-vaccine to take it. He's been promoting the safety of the vaccine to help spread the good word. "The data to prove it's safe and effective is seen first and only, and exclusively, by an independent data and safety monitoring board, not by the company, not by the federal government, but by an independent group of clinicians, vaccinologist immunologists, virologists, statisticians. They look at the data when the data shows, which it has, that the vaccine is safe and efficacious…If you can get people to understand that, with an open mind, you will have essentially dissolved any reason that they might have for not getting vaccinated," he said. "And if they still don't want to get vaccinated, then I think there's something that we really can't overcome—that just inherently anti-vax."

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How to Stay Healthy During the Pandemic

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that COVID-19 will ever fully go away, and will forever linger. "I don't think we're going to eradicate it the way we did with smallpox, but I think we can do what we've done with polio and what we've done with measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases," he admitted. 

Until the vaccine takes into effect and there is herd immunity, public health measures will be crucial. 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.