: Fauci predicts return to ‘normal’ by Christmas

United States

Life should return to normal — more or less — by Christmas, Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted Thursday.

In an interview with MSNBC, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases warned that there were many variables at play and returning to some sort of normalcy “is not a mathematical formula…it’s a question of estimates.” But he agreed with President Joe Biden’s estimate that things will start getting back to normal “by the end of the year, by Christmas.”

It may not be exactly like pre-pandemic life, though. Fauci said theaters and restaurants will likely still have reduced capacity, and “Maybe you’ll still have to wear masks” in public.

“But these are all estimates and so many things can happen to modify that” for better or worse, he said. One concern is that new variants of COVID-19 could cause infections to spike again, potentially interfering with that timeline.

Fauci also said that, once vaccinated, people will still need to separate low-risk contact from higher-risk public activities.

Family dinners and hugs with friends who’s been vaccinated should be OK, he said, but some public outings could still be limited, depending on how much of the general population gets vaccinated.

As of Thursday night, the U.S. had logged 27.9 million coronavirus cases, and more than 493,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.