Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, called for patience as the distribution of coronavirus vaccines gears up, stressing that getting the pandemic under control will still take until probably next summer at the earliest.
“If we have a smooth vaccination program where everybody steps up to the plate quickly, we could get back to some form of normality reasonably quickly,” Fauci said, CNN reported. “Into the summer and, certainly into the fall.”
Fauci made his comments as Pfizer and BioNTech seek emergency-use approval of its vaccine candidate from the Food and Drug Administration, with Moderna set to do the same in the coming days.
Fauci and other experts say how quickly the country recovers from the pandemic depends on when Americans get vaccinated and how many are willing to do that.
“My hope and my projection is that if we get people vaccinated en masse so that we get that large percentage of the population, as we get into the fall, we can get real comfort about people being in schools, safe in school — be that K-12, or college,” he said.
As of Friday, the U.S. has roughly 15.7 million coronavirus cases and 294,000 virus-related deaths in the U.S. — both tops globally — according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.