During a fireside chat with college students yesterday in the Berkeley Forum, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a current member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, discussed when things will return to normal again—and it won't be at the flick of "a switch," he warned.
The first student question was about "a return to normalcy." Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
When Will Things Get Back to Normal 'Post-COVID'?
"People often use phrases like 'after this all ends' and 'post-COVID.' Do you see this return to normalcy as a hard rigid transition? Once the vaccine is distributed or more of a soft one where we inch towards normalcy slowly over several months or years?" asked one of the students.
"Well, excellent question," answered Fauci. "The latter. Absolutely. It's not going to be like turning a light switch on and off at all. And even with a vaccine—again, a vaccine is not going to be 99% effective. I'd love it to be, but it's not. And 99% of the people and not going to be vaccinated, they're not going to want to be vaccinated. So let's say you have a 75% effective vaccine and 65 to 80% of the people want to get vaccinated. You still have a lot of people in society. And let's take this country as a societal unit that are vulnerable to being infected."
"So," he continued, "we're going to softly go to a graded degree of normality where, you know, it would be not a shutdown is the extreme. We're not even in shutdown now, but it's instead of being so careful that businesses are closed, businesses will open."
Will We Still Need to Wear Masks?
"Will people have to wear masks? Yes, likely," said Fauci of life after the introduction of the vaccine. "I would imagine if we get a good vaccine now that we could have some degree of normality in the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2021, I think ultimately we will get back to normality as we knew it before this, but as your questioner correctly hinted, it's going to be a gradual process in which the restrictions on things, restaurant numbers, theater, attendance, spectators at sports, all of that will come back gradually, but it will come back."
How Can You Avoid COVID-19 Until Then?
Practice Dr. Fauci's fundamentals—wear a face mask, wash your hands, avoid crowds, don't congregate with people indoors, get your flu shot—and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.