The future of the coronavirus pandemic is tough to predict. What will our lives look like this winter? Next year? Is this the new normal, even when a vaccine is approved? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, had all of this on his mind when he spoke with Business Insider recently; he talked about the latest on vaccine timing, how to handle the holidays, keeping your immune system strong and when he envisions we’ll finally be able to put this all behind us. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
In Fauci’s view, we’ve got another year before coronavirus is squelched. But the vaccine isn’t the only thing that has to happen. Said Fauci: “I believe that by the time we get to the end of 2021, if everyone gets vaccinated and we continue to implement the public health measures that I have been talking about incessantly over the last several months — they’re not universally adhered to — if we do that, plus the vaccine, we’ll get to the point where the level of virus will be so low, and maybe even, you know, close to absent.”
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“I feel cautiously optimistic that we will have a safe and effective vaccine by the end of this calendar year,” said Fauci. “I said November-December. Others say October. I think it’s unlikely in October, but maybe — you never know. But let’s say a safe bet will be the end of this calendar year.”
“I don’t think we’re going to eradicate it,” said Fauci. “We may not completely eliminate it, but if you get it down to such a very low level, and enough of the population is protected — either by a vaccine or by previously having been infected — then you’ll develop a degree of herd immunity that you won’t have an outbreak.”
Fauci reiterated that he takes Vitamin D to boost his immune system. “There is good evidence that if you have a low vitamin D level, that you have more of a propensity to get infected when there are infections around,” he said. “Those data are pretty good data.”
Although he recommends taking Vitamins C and D, Fauci said lifestyle choices are more important to your immunity. “If you really want to keep your immune system working optimally, there are things that you do that are normal things: get a reasonable amount of sleep, get a good diet, try to avoid or alleviate severe stress, which we know can sometimes impact the immune system,” said Fauci. “That is much more healthy living than giving yourself supplements of anything. “
Fauci said that he currently does all of his socializing outside, and that colder weather and indoor gatherings will bring challenges. One potential solution to make family get-togethers safer this winter: “Maybe when the tests for surveillance are more widely available, you could get tested?” he said. “Have people get a test that’s a 15-minute test, so you’ll know when you’re good. It’s not a 100% guarantee, because some of those surveillance tests aren’t as sensitive as the PCR tests, but nonetheless, that could be one way to do it.”
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“There’s a real concern that perhaps we’re moving too quickly,” said Fauci. “And I think people need to understand that speed is not related to a compromise of safety nor to a compromise of scientific integrity. The fact that we’ve been able to move so fast is a real reflection of the extraordinary technological advances that have been made in the development of vaccines … Things that were measured in years are now measured in weeks to months.”
Yesterday, CDC director Robert Redfield said that if the coronavirus vaccine was only 70% effective, he might still wear a face mask. Fauci seems to agree. “A combination of an effective vaccine and adherence to certain public health principles will get us to the point where we want to be, by the end of 2021,” he said. “You never should abandon the public health measures. And the intensity of the public health measures would depend on the level of infection in the community.
“If there’s almost no infection in the community, together with the vaccine, you might want to be able to say, ‘I can safely congregate with people.’ You may want to do it with a mask, or without a mask.”
Fauci strongly recommends to wear your face mask and avoid crowds, social distance, only run essential errands, wash your hands frequently, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.