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Fauci Predicts Our Return to Normal

'Degree of normality' could come in spring, if most unvaccinated Americans get their shots
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2021 7:51 AM CDT
Fauci Predicts Our Return to Normal
In this July 20, 2021 file photo, top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci responds to accusations by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as he testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

(Newser) – The US could reclaim a "degree of normality" by spring if the "overwhelming majority" of unvaccinated Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19. So White House chief medical adviser and NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, though he warned continued spread could prompt another worrisome variant.

  • Quote: "As we get into the spring, we could start getting back to a degree of normality, namely reassuming the things that we were hoping we could do—restaurants, theaters, that kind of thing," Fauci said. "But there's no guarantee because it's up to us ... If we keep lingering without getting those people vaccinated that should be vaccinated, this thing could linger on, leading to the development of another variant which could complicate things."

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  • That's consistent: Fauci also offered up early next year as a point at which the US might return to normalcy in February, per Forbes. In May, he said the US could get "as close to back to normal as we can" by Mother's Day in early May 2022—if most Americans are vaccinated.
  • Opinion: CNN's Stephen Collinson sees Fauci's comments as "a severe jolt to a weary nation" and a warning for President Biden. "A pandemic that stretches through another grim winter and beyond risks slowing the economic recovery on which Biden is relying for a strong performance" in next year's midterm elections, and could "trigger the kind of sour mood among the electorate that always spells danger for incumbents."

  • Timing: Fauci spoke hours after the FDA gave its full approval to Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine—aka Comirnaty—for people aged 16 and older, and at a time when hospitals in states with lower vaccinations rates are seeing a surge in COVID-19 patients. Fauci said this could convince many Americans to finally get the shot. Only 51.5% of the US population is fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
  • Cry for help: We're looking far from normal now with the American Hospital Association asking the federal government to release $48 billion in funding. Its president, Richard Pollack, describes "a 43% increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions over the past two weeks, which are especially affecting poorly vaccinated southern states," in a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, per the British Medical Journal. He adds the daily average of adult COVID-19 patients in the ICU has increased 33% in a week.
(Read more COVID-19 stories.)

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