(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Doctor Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, is pleased with strengthening vaccination efforts but admits a sense of normalcy will not return until 2022.
Fauci, in an interview with LA Times Today, suggested that the previous thought that life could reclaim a sense of normality by the fall was too ambitious. Now, with variants complicating vaccination efforts and transmission rates, Fauci is more comfortable with the timeline extending into the next year.
“Hopefully, by the time we start entering 2022, we really will have a degree of normality that will approximate the kind of normality we’ve been used to,” he said.
His statement comes after White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that setting timelines could contribute to a false sense of security and that is why the White House will no longer participate in the predictions business.
“We want to be straight with the American public … We are not in a place where we can predict exactly when everybody will feel normal again,” she said, also noting that vaccine hesitancy could also slow down progress against COVID-19.
The reason for delaying predictions when life could slowly ease back to normal is partly due to the vaccine rollout, which had a disastrous start, and is now complicated by lowering vaccine availability.
While health officials and political leaders expressed optimism that the spring would become an “open season” for vaccinations, the timeline has been delayed — noting Johnson & Johnson’s smaller inventory of vaccines once the company obtains emergency authorization.
“I’m a little disappointed that the number of doses that we’ll get early on from J&J are relatively small,” said Fauci, who now believes that most Americans will gain vaccine eligibility by the mid-summer and into the early fall.
Johnson & Johnson declined speaking with ABC News but previously stated its intent to deliver 100 million doses by the end of June. The company could acquire authorization as early as next week.
COVID-19 has infected over 27.8 million Americans and killed over 490,000 people in the country, reports Johns Hopkins University.