Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease official, told MSNBC on Friday that because of the timeline for manufacturing and distributing a coronavirus vaccine, it will be well into next year before American life returns to normal.
President Trump suggested this week that a vaccine will be ready in time for November’s election, but Fauci has said such an accelerated timeline is not realistic.
Fauci said Friday it’s possible that a vaccine could be available by the end of this year or early 2021.
Manufacturing the vaccine in large quantities and distributing it to the majority of the population will take significantly longer, however, meaning that returning to “normal” life—including indoor and enclosed activities like movie theaters—won’t happen until the middle or end of next year.
Fauci on Friday also refuted Trump’s comments Thursday that the U.S. is “rounding the corner” on coronavirus, characterizing the current data on the virus, which shows about 40,000 new cases and 1,000 deaths a day, as “disturbing.”
During a discussion with doctors from Harvard Medical School on Thursday, Fauci said the U.S. needs to prepare to “hunker down” this fall and winter and warned against looking only at the “rosy side of things,” CNBC reported.
“If you’re talking about getting back to a degree of normality, which resembles where we were prior to COVID, it’s gonna be well into 2021,” Fauci said. “Maybe even towards the end of 2021.”
According to a New York Times tracker, there are 38 coronavirus vaccine candidates being tested on humans in clinical trials. This week, pharma giant AstraZeneca announced it had paused a late-stage vaccine trial after a participant developed what is suspected to be an adverse reaction to the drug. The heads of nine pharma companies have also pledged that they would not submit their coronavirus vaccine candidates to regulators until they are shown to be safe and effective in large critical trials.