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

We need to “encourage people now that we have two safe and effective vaccines,” said Fauci. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
woman taking off white protective face mask

With more than a 9/11's worth of American deaths daily attributed to COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, joined California State University Chancellor Timothy White, to discuss the coronavirus and what we need to do to get it under control. "We are going through—and I don't think you need me to tell you this—the most extraordinary experience of historic outbreak, the impact and the likes of which we have not seen on this planet in 102 years since the pandemic of 1918," said Fauci, "and we are still struggling." Read on to hear when he thinks we can end this pandemic and return to normal, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Dr. Fauci Said the First Step to Returning to Normal is to Convince Everyone the Vaccine is Safe and Effective

Both vaccines are safe and effective, says Dr. Fauci, a message he wanted to extend to every American—including minorities, who he says were included in the trials. "It's really important to get minorities represented in the trial because when the trial is shown to be safe and effective, you can then look at the community in the eye and say, this vaccine is safe and effective in you in you and your people," said Fauci. "So we've actually proven it by a scientifically based clinical trial. That's much better than saying, 'Take the vaccine and take our word for it.'"

With the science backing him, his next step is to get everyone to take it. "Now, the challenge is going to be, and this is something that we need everyone's help on, including the people on this screen, is to encourage people now that we have two safe and effective vaccines," said Fauci. "And I think in the next couple of months now, I think I know that in the next couple of months, we're going to have even more candidate vaccines that will have shown safety and efficacy to make sure we encourage people of all demographic groups to step forward and get vaccinated."

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Dr. Fauci Says the Vaccine is the "Only Way" to End COVID-19

Dr. Fauci said the vaccine needs to be taken by enough people so we can develop herd immunity. "Why do I say that it is the only way that we're going to end this epidemic?" he asked. "If we get, I would say a range from 70 to 85% of the population vaccinated, we will create an umbrella or a blanket as it were of herd immunity over the population to the point that the virus is not going to have any place to go in us. In other words, we could essentially end this outbreak in this country, as we know it, and put it in the rear view mirror." 

"I think now that we have in our hands vaccines that are 94 to 95% effective," he said, "so we need to make sure that we make that efficacy turn into effect."

Dr. Fauci Says We Could Begin to Approach Normality After August

Here's Fauci's ideal timeline: "If we indeed get the relative proportion of people that I referred to vaccinated, and we do it in an efficient way, I can project that between now and March, we can get the people with high priorities. You know, those who have essential positions, those who are elderly and have underlying conditions. When you get to March and April, we'll say April, then I would call that more like open season—anyone, even those who have no underlying conditions, don't have any particular reason to get vaccinated, to start getting them vaccinated. If we do that efficiently and the doses of vaccine come in, according to the contractual arrangements that we have that by the time we get to April, May, June, July, August, we can get the overwhelming majority of the people in this country vaccinated."

And thus begin to return to normal. "This will end, and we will get back to a normality," he said. "We'll have learned lessons, but we will get back to normality."

How to Survive This Pandemic

As for yourself, until we've reached herd immunity, follow his 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 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.