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Dr. Fauci Just Said When We'll Be Back to "Normal"

“Is it 10,000 [cases daily]? Maybe. I think so. But I don't know for certain until [we're] there.”
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

With COVID-19 vaccines now available for all adults, and cases going down (at least in the USA; India is another tragic story), it feels like normal is within our grasp. But when? How soon will we hug again? And be back in the office without worry? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN about just that. Read on for 5 essential predictions he has of the future—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID and Didn't Even Know It.


Dr. Fauci Said When He Thinks We May Be Back to Normal, With a Caveat

people are celebrating holiday

"People want to know something… When would I feel comfortable that I think things are really getting to the point where we can start approaching normality?" said Dr. Fauci. "Well, for darn sure it's not 60,000 new cases a day." That's about what we have now. "Is it 10,000 [cases daily]? Maybe. I think so. But I don't know for certain until [we're] there." Dr. Fauci said he understood why people kept asking him. "It's understandable; I don't resent that at all—that people demand a number. So, if you were to ask me, 'When do you think that we can start approaching normality?' And I told you, 'Sanjay, I don't have a clue. I do not know.' You'll never get me and say, 'Aha! You gave me a number and you're wrong.' But you won't say, 'Isn't this guy even thinking about it? Isn't he trying to figure it out?'" "So, you give a guesstimate and then if the guesstimate is correct, great," he continued. He was reluctant to give an exact number because then he would be blasted if it was not right. Keep reading for the other four unmissable points.


Dr. Fauci Said to Measure the "Relative Risk"

Traveling woman doing the check-in at the airport wearing a face mask.

Something Fauci finds not easy to explain to people is "what we call the relative risk and the risk that someone is willing to take. … So what happens is that since there's different risk aversion in society, when the CDC says, 'If you're vaccinated, you can or cannot do this,' someone is always going to be arguing with that recommendation, thinking it's either too stringent or not, when really what we're saying is, 'These are the broad, general scope of how to think about things.' And everybody has a different gauge on the amount of risk they want to take there. Someday you're going to say, 'Hey, I'm vaccinated. I don't care. My risk is very low for everything. I'm going to do whatever the heck I want to do.' And there are some that are going to say, 'I'm vaccinated, but I really I want to get that risk as low as it possibly could be.'"


Dr. Fauci Says Listen to the Science

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Georgia, Atlanta

"I often get asked, 'What would you do?'" said Dr. Fauci. "And not infrequently I would either be on one side or the other of what the recommendation is. But as an official, you have to be careful that you don't get ahead of the CDC or behind the CDC. Because the one thing you don't want is people [to] say, 'Look at this: these people, they're disagreeing with each other.' … You have to have something that is broadly applicable to the country with variations. … So that's the thing that gets confusing in the messaging."


Dr. Fauci Said We'll Get Back to Hugging…But Will Be More Conscious of Public Health

Family reunion

"I think we will get a lot back to normal," said Dr. Fauci to Gupta. "I think people, as … human nature, care so much about physical interaction that the hugging and the physical contact will come back. I do not think that's going to disappear. I cannot imagine we'll become standoffish. But I do think that people are going to be thinking about public health more, in that when there are outbreaks, for example, of influenza, I think that people during a winter season… temporarily… might start wearing masks. One thing we learned is that the public health measure we instituted to keep out Covid-19 essentially wiped out influenza in Australia during their season. We've had, like 100 times less influenza this year than we had in previous years. It's remarkable how little influenza there has been."


Dr. Fauci Predicted Some Things May Be Continued to be Done Online

"The other thing I think is going to be different is that people are going to realize that 'Is it really a good idea for me to get on a plane, to fly to Paris to give a 35-minute lecture and then come back … when I gave just as good a lecture on a Zoom with all the technologies we have?' I think you're going to see a lot more of people not going out of their way, knocking themselves out when they could communicate the way you and I are communicating right now." Unil then, follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek