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Get Used to Life Like This, Leaders Tell Europeans

Conte, Johnson advise their nations not to count on a vaccine
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 17, 2020 11:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – In separate, stark warnings, two major European leaders have bluntly told their citizens that the world needs to adapt to living with the coronavirus and cannot wait to be saved by a vaccine. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, pushed by his nation's regional leaders and weeks ahead of an earlier timetable, is allowing restaurants, bars, and beach facilities to open Monday, when church services can resume and shops reopen. "We are facing a calculated risk, in the awareness ... that the epidemiological curve could go back up," Conte said Saturday. "We are confronting this risk, and we need to accept it, otherwise we would never be able to relaunch." Conte added that Italy could "not afford" to wait until a vaccine is developed, the AP reports. Health experts say the world could be months, if not years, away from having a vaccine available to everyone. "We would find ourselves with our social and productive fabric heavily damaged," Conte said.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speculated Sunday that a vaccine may not be developed at all. "I said we would throw everything we could at finding a vaccine," Johnson wrote in the Mail on Sunday. "There remains a very long way to go, and I must be frank that a vaccine might not come to fruition." Johnson said Britain was taking "baby steps" toward reopening. "Despite these efforts, we have to acknowledge we may need to live with this virus for some time to come," Johnson wrote. The Conservative leader said the UK needs to find new ways to control the virus, including more testing and tracing the contacts of infected people. One minister said Sunday that 17,200 people had been recruited to be contact tracers. The new coronavirus has infected over 4.6 million people and killed more than 312,000 worldwide, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University that experts say undercounts the true toll of the pandemic.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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