Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned Friday that the world might not go back to normal any time soon, as the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Fauci said in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that it may take more than a year to return “to a degree of normality” that resembles the situation before the pandemic.
“It’s gonna be well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021,” he said.
The timeline is tied to the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and getting the majority of the U.S. population “vaccinated and protected,” which Fauci said is “likely not gonna happen until the mid or end of 2021.”
Fauci previously told a House panel in July that he is “cautiously optimistic” that a COVID-19 vaccine will be developed within the year. However, once the vaccine is proven to be safe and effective, it will still need to be mass-produced and distributed, which likely plays a factor in Fauci’s forecast of when the world will go back to where it was pre-COVID-19.
As of September 11, there are 6.42 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with about 192,000 reported deaths.
While researchers continue to work on a vaccine, there has been major progress in the tests to detect COVID-19, which is one of the primary ways of fighting back against the pandemic.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization to a saliva-based testing method for the coronavirus. The method, named SalivaDirect, was developed by Yale University, and is less invasive than swab tests while maintaining effectiveness.
The FDA also recently granted the same authorization to the BinaxNOW test by Abbott Laboratories, a nasal swab procedure that takes just 15 minutes to produce a result and costs only $5.