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Dr. Fauci Says When We Can "Open Up America Again"

When will life feel normal again? 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Dr. Anthony Fauci

Now that the vaccine is here and people are lining up to get their doses of COVID-19 immunity, the question that many Americans are asking is: When will life start to return to normal? During a Friday interview on Good Morning America with George Stephanopoulos, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, revealed when things will start to feel less restrictive and how long we will be wearing face masks. Read on to find out when—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

America Will Reopen "Prudently and Gradually," Fauci Said

Dr. Fauci explained that the key to reopening American should be less like "turning a light switch on and off." Instead, things should reopen "gradually and safely." During this reopening stage, "there is still going to be the important need to wear masks," he revealed. "I think we still need to do that." 

However, crowded spaces will be a no-go for the foreseeable future. "You want to avoid congregate settings, but you can gradually get to the situation where you might open up restaurants with limited seating and things like that, but it's gotta be done prudently and gradually," Fauci said. 

As for when things will be back to normal-normal? Fauci couldn't give an exact timeframe. "I'm not so sure it's measured in years, George, but I think until we get the level of virus, to such a low level in the community—and I had said a projection, and it's only a projection—that hopefully by the time we get all the people vaccinated to, let's say 70 to 85% of the people vaccinated, the level of virus in the community could be so low that you could start pulling back a bit on what are stringent public health measures," he said. "You don't want to do it all at once."

And, don't plan on getting rid of your masks anytime soon. "I think we're going to be wearing masks for several, several months into the future," he admitted. 

RELATED: If You Feel This, You May Have Already Had COVID, Says Dr. Fauci

How to Stay Safe During This Pandemic

Until then, it is just as important than ever to follow Fauci's fundamentals to protect yourself and others 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.