Dr. Fauci says life won’t return to normal until deep into 2021

***Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies during a House Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on July 31, 2020. (Kevin Dietsch/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)
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By Tim Balk New York Daily News (TNS)

Buckle up for a long ride ahead.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said Friday that normal times won’t replace America’s long coronavirus nightmare until deep into 2021, explaining that it will take months to widely administer a vaccine.

The 79-year-old immunologist said he continues to expect a vaccine to be available by the beginning of 2021.

“But by the time you mobilize the distribution of the vaccinations and you get the majority or more of the population vaccinated and protected, that’s likely not going to happen until the mid or end of 2021,” Fauci told MSNBC. “If you’re talking about getting back to a degree of normality which resembles where we were prior to COVID, it’s going to be well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021.”

He also said the path indoors for activities like eating out could prove treacherous as the weather cools.

“Being indoors absolutely increases the risk,” Fauci told MSNBC. “I am concerned when I see things starting indoors, and that becomes more compelling when you move into fall and winter season.”

On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the green light for New York City restaurants to serve patrons inside starting on Sept. 30, with limitations.

Earlier this week, amid concerns that a vaccine will be rushed out in the interest of politics and not medicine, nine drug manufacturers issued a joint statement promising not to cut corners.

President Donald Trump has suggested repeatedly that a vaccine could be available before Election Day, Nov. 3.

COVID-19 has sickened millions of people in the U.S., and the official national death toll has climbed above 190,000.

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