alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.

Dr. Fauci drops the disheartening truth that 'normality' may not return anytime soon

Dr. Fauci drops the disheartening truth that 'normality' may not return anytime soon

As the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the United States surpassed 6.43 million and the nation's death toll topped 192,600, the federal government's top infectious disease expert warned Friday that life likely won't return to normal until sometime—perhaps late—in 2021.


During a televised interview, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about his comments earlier this week that it may not be safe to attend movie theaters or indoor events until a year after the U.S. has a safe, effective vaccine.

Fauci said that he remains confident the U.S. could have a vaccine for Covid-19 by the end of this year or early next year, "but by the time you mobilize the distribution of the vaccinations and you get the majority or more of the population vaccinated and protected, that's likely not gonna happen till the mid or end of 2021."

"If you're talking about getting back to a degree of normality which resembles where we were prior to Covid, it's gonna be well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021," Fauci added, referencing the local and state level lockdowns and social distancing practices that have been implemented throughout this year.

A White House adviser, Fauci also disagreed with President Donald Trump's claim during a Thursday press briefing that the United States has "rounded the final turn" in the pandemic. Looking at the statistics, "they're disturbing," Fauci told Mitchell. "We're plateauing at around 40,000 cases a day and the deaths are around 1,000."

The expert expressed hope that the U.S. won't see a post-Labor Day Weekend surge in cases like what occurred after July 4 and Memorial Day, and stressed the importance of driving down infection numbers heading into the fall and winter months.

"What we don't want to see is going into the fall season, when people will be spending more time indoors—and that's not good for a respiratory borne virus—you don't want to start off already with a baseline that's so high," he said.

Fauci also denied that he has been influenced by the reported efforts of a Trump-allied official within the Department of Health and Human Services to muzzle him or otherwise guide what the expert says publicly about the pandemic.

Regarding AstraZeneca's decision earlier this week to halt human trials for a potential vaccine after a participant in the U.K. showed signs of a suspected adverse reaction, Fauci said the development was unfortunate but should also reassure the public that safety concerns are being taken seriously.

The trial delay came as AstraZeneca joined eight other pharmaceutical companies in pledging to "stand with science" amid alarm that Trump may pressure the industry and the Food and Drug Administration to approve a vaccine ahead of the general election. As Common Dreams reported Tuesday, public health experts responded to Big Pharma's promise with cautious optimism.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close