The pandemic is far from over, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“This not over, we are entering into the cool months of fall and the cold of winter and our baseline infection is 40,000 per day, which is unacceptably high,” he said at the Berkeley Forum Thursday night, urging viewers to continue to follow COVID-19 safety protocols.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force member says while vaccines are in clinical trials, it will take time to get them delivered.
“Particularly in the early months when you don't have enough to give to everyone right away,” Fauci said.
He added that an Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is working with the CDC to make sure vulnerable populations are first in line.
Masks, distancing and hand washing will likely be needed even after the vaccine is delivered.
“So let's say you have a 75% effective vaccine and 65-80% of the people want to get vaccinated,” Fauci said. “You still have a lot of people in this country vulnerable to being infected.”
Returning to normal won't be like flipping a switch. He says it will be gradual and may be about a year away.
“Businesses will reopen, will people have to wear masks? Yes, likely,” he said. “I would imagine if we get a good vaccine now we could have a degree of normalcy in the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2021.”