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Dr. Fauci Says Our Return to Normal May Be Delayed

The timeline depends on various factors.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Dr. Anthony Fauci

When will life go back to normal? This is the question on nearly everyone's mind around the world. During The Washington Post Live's Coronavirus Leadership During Crisis, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, attempted to answer the burning question. Read on to hear what he had to say—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Dr. Fauci Can't Say For Sure When We Return to Normal, Due to "Contingencies"

Dr. Fauci started off by pointing out that estimates "have contingencies" and that you "cannot give a definite answer when you have so many moving parts." 

"It depends on so many factors," Fauci revealed. "If you have the overwhelming population, let's say up 85%, get vaccinated in a very efficient way so that as you get into the summer, you've essentially vaccinated most of the people you need to vaccinate—be that 280 million or 300 million—by the time you get to the end of the summer, you have them vaccinated, you're going to approach some degree of normality as you get into the fall."

However, "there are a lot of things that could get in the way of that," Fauci points out. One of them is the efficacy of the vaccine with the mutations, because if the "vaccine is not as effective and we don't address it by upgrading the vaccine that timetable could change dramatically."

The second? It depends on how many people get vaccinated. "If you have a degree of vaccine hesitancy, then you have another problem because if you're striving to get 85% of the people vaccinated, and you only get 50% of them vaccinated, then all of a sudden the timetable goes out the window. So you get mutations, you got to deal with, you get vaccine hesitancy. You've got to deal with all of those things are going to be determined."

Best case scenario? Things will return to "some form of normality" in the fall. "But I think the American public has to realize that that's always contingent on certain things going right. And if they do go right then the next and the dates that I mentioned will be okay," he said. 

Before concluding, Fauci added one more factor that could influence normality, and that is what happens in the rest of the world. "Whenever there is transmission and viral outbreaks throughout the world, the United States States will always be in danger, no matter what we do," he explained. "So again, all of these things are contingencies that will then get us to normal, but they've all got to fall into place. Otherwise it would be really unpredictable when we're going to get back to what we all want, what it was like before this happened, namely normal existence."

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Dr. Fauci Says Here's How to Stay Safe Now

Follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, 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, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.