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Dr. Fauci Says When We'll Get Back to "Some Sort of Normality"

“It's kind of dependent upon us,” he says.
Woman taking off mask outdoor

The light is at the end of the tunnel. But it's a long tunnel. Although Pfizer and Moderna announced their coronavirus vaccines both proved more than 90% effective in trials, they won't be widely available to the general population for four or five months. In an interview with the USA TODAY Editorial Board, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and member of the coronavirus task force, discussed exactly how long it'd take before we go back to normal. Read on to hear more, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Dr. Fauci Said Normality Depends on Who Takes the Vaccine

Dr. Fauci was asked when the general population would receive the vaccine. "Just the normal everyday person in the street, likely starting sometime in April as we go into May, June, July. So that hopefully, by the time we get to the end of the second quarter and looking at the third quarter, if we do get people vaccinated to a high degree, then you can start talking about this umbrella or blanket of protection on society that would diminish dramatically the risk of a person being exposed or even being infected."

If that happens, we have a greater shot at returning to normal. "When so many people are protected, that's when you get into the real herd immunity, namely, the overwhelming majority of the population is protected because of the vaccine," he said. "So that's why when people ask when do I think when they get back to some sort of normality, it's kind of dependent upon us. One other comment that I want to link to my answer, is that just because you're vaccinated does not mean that you should abandon all public health measures. The vaccine is a complement, not a substitute. It would be a substitute when you get everybody vaccinated and there's no virus around, sort of like with measles."

Expect to be wearing masks, practicing good hygiene and social distancing even after April.

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Dr. Fauci Says We Could be Back to Normal By Third Quarter of 2021

COVID-fatigue is real. Fauci knows this. "People are worn out about this, but we've got to hang in there a bit longer, particularly as we get into the holiday seasons and the colder weather as we get into the late fall and early winter months, we've got to hang together on this because we can make it turn around," he told Jake Tapper on CNN's State of the Union. "We really can."

"If we get the overwhelming majority of people taking the vaccine and you have on the one hand, an effective vaccine, on the other hand, a high degree of uptake of the vaccine, we could start getting things back to relative normal as we get into the second and third quarter of the year"—meaning 2021—"where people can start thinking about doing things that were too dangerous just months ago, but we've got to put all those things together—we can't just wish it happening. We've got to get the vaccine, it's gotta be deployed and we can't abandon fundamental public health measures. You can approach a degree of normality while still doing some fundamental public health things that synergize with the vaccine to get us back to normal."

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Says Most People Did This Before Catching COVID

How to Survive the Pandemic—and Stop Infections From Spreading

No matter where you live, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear your 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, stay outdoors more than indoors, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.