Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday provided an optimistic outlook, suggesting that with proper vaccination the U.S. will be on track for a full recovery from the pandemic. Public health officials sounded the alarm going into summer, but it now seems that the nation avoided a spike and could be back to normal within a year.
“I believe that we will be about as close to back to normal as we can, and there's some conditions to that,” he said on ABC’s “The Week.” “We've got to make sure that we get the overwhelming proportion of the population vaccinated. When that happens, the virus doesn't really have any place to go.”
Health officials have until now been conservative in their estimates, warning Americans that it was not yet time to abandon masks and social distancing.
Rising vaccination numbers and declining infection rates have provided an encouraging forecast.
“The CDC will be almost in real-time ... updating their recommendations and their guidelines,” Fauci said. “But yes, we do need to start being more liberal as we get more people vaccinated. As you get more people vaccinated, the number of cases per day will absolutely go down.”
The comments come after Fauci had suggested in a separate interview that mask-wearing could become a staple for those who contract the common cold, as it is in many other countries.
“It is conceivable that, as we go on a year or two or more from now, that during certain seasonal periods when you have respiratory borne viruses like the flu, people might actually elect to wear masks to diminish the likelihood that you'll spread these respiratory borne diseases,” Fauci said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Fauci’s optimism is sure to be a relief for many U.S. industries.
Hopes about the economy were somewhat dashed by the worst jobs report in decades relative to predictions.
The economic recovery from the pandemic has long been unequal, with stocks soaring as the jobs market and select industries floundered.
Before the latest jobs report, some had held out hope that the sectors performing well could drag up their peers.
The first quarter saw strong economic gains and even faster growth is expected for the quarter ending on June 30 due to higher consumer spending.
Fauci's vaccination outlook is expected to mean a faster reopening schedule. Meanwhile, an April poll of economists from the Wall Street Journal, "registered an average forecast of 6.4% growth over the four quarters of 2021."