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Dr. Fauci Says Here's When Normal Might Return

It's too soon with so many deaths. But it can happen. Here's when.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

COVID deaths are surging. "The seven day average daily deaths are about 2,200 per day, which is an increase of about 21%," said the CDC Chief yesterday. So how can you stay safe? And when can we get back to normal? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke yesterday to address just that. Read on for 7 life-saving points—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Dr. Fauci Says There are Too Many Deaths to Be OK With "Living With" COVID at the Moment

Nurse is comforting a covid patient at the ICU

What does living with COVID as part of our lives look like? "What is an acceptable situation," said Dr. Fauci, so Omicron does not "disrupt our lives? Well, first of all, the important point to make is that we are not there right now, when you have over 2,000 deaths, 150,000 hospitalizations, and you have people who are now getting infected to the tune of somewhere around 700,000 a day—we're not there yet where we want to be is that sufficient control." By control, he means "not eradication like we did with smallpox, that's unreasonable, not necessarily elimination like we've done with polio and with measles by mass vaccination campaigns, but a level of control that does not disrupt us in society does not dominate our lives, does not prevent us to do the things that we general do on the normal existence." What does that look like? Keep reading.

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Dr. Fauci Says This is What Needs to Happen Before Normality Returns

Portrait of doctor with face mask and clipboard looking at camera in hospital.

What level of infection is one in which we can all kinda feel like life is normal? "That would be a level of infection, but more importantly, concentrating on severity of disease, hospitalizations, and deaths that fall within the category of what we generally accept," he said. "We don't like it, but we accept it with other respiratory viruses, RSV, paraflu, and even influenza. And if the degree of immunity in the general community population—either through infection plus boosting, either vaccine plus boosting or just vaccine alone—those are the things that will hopefully get us to the point when we have antivirals to be able to treat people who are at high risk, that we no longer are in a situation of threat to our equanimity, threat, to our economy, the threat to allow us to live a normal life."

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Dr. Fauci Says We Can Get There—One Day

Doctor holding syringe in hospital.

"We believe we can get there because we have the tools with vaccines, with boosts, with masks, with tests and with antivirals. That's what we talk about when we get to the point where we can quote live with the virus, but that is not where we are at this point. So we still have a way to go."

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Dr. Fauci Said This Would be the Best Case Scenario

Close up shot of hands checking Covid-19 vaccine report card and ticking 3rd or booster dose after vaccination.

Dr. Fauci laid out the "best case scenario and a worst case scenario we all are hoping for. And I believe we likely would get more towards the best than a worst case scenario, but we don't know," he admitted. "You've gotta be prepared for the worst, but anticipate and look at the data as it's evolving and what is the best case scenario? And it really relates to, where if you get enough protection from either infection plus boost or infection plus boost again, or vaccination with boosting, hopefully—because we know how important boosting is that you will get a level of protection in the community—that even if you get another variant, that you will not see a surge associated with that variant, but you'll have enough background immunity to protect against it."

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Dr. Fauci Said Here's What Co-Existing With COVID Would Look Like

Patient arriving at medical clinic and being called by the doctor using face mask.

He concluded: "The level that we want to so-called 'accept/living with it': We wanna make it low enough so it doesn't disrupt our capability to function in society in a relatively normal way. We do that with other respiratory viruses. We know that we get RSV, particularly against vulnerable—the elderly and children—we get parainfluenza, we get influenza, these are important. We try our best to contain them, but they don't disrupt us with regard to challenging our hospital system with regard to challenging the entire healthcare delivery system. That's where we want to be. And I believe that we will get there hopefully sooner rather than later. But as I say that, I say we still will always be prepared for the possibility that there may be a variant that will make that timetable turn around. And so that's the reason why we're doing all of the things that we're doing."

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Meanwhile, Here's Where You Can Get Your Free N95 Mask

Female pharmacist with protective mask on her face working at pharmacy.

Four hundred million free N95 masks are now available. "This is the largest deployment of PPE personal protective equipment in US history," said White House COVID coordinator Jeff Zients. Where can you get yours? "We just determined that the fastest way to get masks out was through the channels that we use for vaccines, including community health centers and local pharmacies. We've already shipped masks out. And we're beginning to see people pick up these high quality masks at locations across the country, like Hy-Vee, Walmart and Meijer last Friday."

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How to Stay Safe Out There

A mid adult woman protects herself by placing an N95 face mask over her nose and mouth.

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, 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, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
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