Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday he expects schools in the United States to be able to reopen by the fall as health officials get the novel coronavirus “under control” through widespread testing.
“I fully expect, though I’m humble enough to know that I can’t accurately predict, but by the time we get to the fall that we will have this under control enough that it certainly will not be the way it is now, where people are shutting schools,” Fauci said at a White House coronavirus task force press briefing.
“No absolute prediction, but bottom line, I think we’re going to be in good shape,” Fauci said.
Fauci reiterated, as he has in previous press conferences, that life is unlikely to return to complete normalcy until a coronavirus vaccine has been developed. The White House task force hopes that drugs will come on line to treat coronavirus patients, or to protect people at high risk from falling ill.
“My optimistic side tells me that we will be able to renew to a certain extent, but it’s going to be different,” Fauci said.
“Remember now, because this is not going to disappear.”
The task force hopes to soon roll out antibody tests that can establish who has been infected by the coronavirus without knowing it. The administration also expects to ramp up production of tests that can quickly provide results.
Fauci has shied away from predicting when officials will be able to relax social distancing measures aimed at slowing the pandemic.
On Monday, he said that getting back to normal “might not ever” happen.
“If back to normal means acting like there was never a coronavirus problem, I don’t think that’s going to happen until we do have a situation where you can completely protect the population,” Fauci said at the press conference.
“But, when we say getting back to normal, we mean something very different from what we are going through right now, because right now we are in a very intense mitigation. When we get back to normal, we will go back gradually to the point where we can function as a society.”
Fauci has come under fire from some supporters of President Donald Trump who blame the scientist for endorsing an economic shutdown through at least April 30.
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