With the United States barreling toward flu season, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been the leading voice of health experts during the COVID-19 outbreak, is cautioning that the end of the pandemic may not be near.
During a panel discussion with doctors from the Harvard Medical School, Fauci said that Americans are going to “need to hunker down and get through the fall and winter, because it’s not going to be easy” if they hope to get the virus under control.
The number of new daily COVID-19 cases has been slowly declining, but there have still been nearly 200,000 virus-related deaths and more than 6 million confirmed infections.
His latest comments come after journalist Bob Woodward released audio tapes of President Donald Trump admitting that he intentionally downplayed the pandemic when it first started spreading in early March stating that he “didn’t want to create a panic.”
“It’s really quite frankly depressing to see that because you know what's ahead,” he said. “We’ve been through this before (with the HIV epidemic) … don’t ever, ever underestimate the potential of the pandemic. And don’t try to look at the rosy side of things.”
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases also discussed possible COVID-19 vaccine trials, which he says are progressing well, and the possibility of a spike in cases during the fall when flu season arrives.
Fauci is cautioning that it could be late in 2021 before a degree of normalcy returns to the country.
"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 going to happen to the mid or end of 2021," he said to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.
“If you're talking about getting back to a degree of normality which resembles where we were prior to COVID, it's going to be well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021."
Fauci told Jennifer Garner on Instagram Live: “If we get a really good vaccine and just about everybody gets vaccinated, you’ll have a degree of immunity in the general community that I think you can walk into a theater without a mask and feel like it’s comfortable that you’re not going to be at risk.”
Fauci noted again that likely would not be until toward the end of 2021.
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