If you were expecting to hit the beach this summer in full force, with no restrictions, you’re going to be disappointed. Dr. Anthony Fauci explained in a new interview with Julia Roberts for #PassTheMic that, despite some parts of the country attempting to reopen right now, the United States as a whole won’t be “back to normal” anytime soon. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that fully lifting social-distancing orders would be akin to “tempting fate” and potentially causing another deadly wave of COVID-19 infections. “We’re currently dealing with a public health crisis, and the most important thing that people can do right now is listen to the scientific evidence,” Fauci, considered the nation’s topmost coronavirus expert, explained. “At the moment, that clearly indicates that physical separation is working to a certain extent. So now is not the time to tempt fate and pull back completely.”
The solution isn’t to keep the United States on permanent lockdown, of course. Rather, Fauci said, we should prepare ourselves to embrace a “new normal” as we head into the summer months. “If you are going to ‘open up’ or get back to some form of normality, you have to have in place the capability of being responsive when you get the blips in cases that you’re going to inevitably get. Even in areas of the country where we seem to be under good control — because people are mitigating, practicing good physical separation, wearing masks, and not going to crowded places — if you pull back, you will see more cases,” he explained.
Fauci said in a April 22 Will From Home interview with Will Smith that it’s a similar situation seeing schools reopen in the fall. “If there’s still virus that’s lingering around there as we get to a new school season, there are going to be some locations that are, appropriately, going to be hesitant to get the kids back to school,” he said. “If things look really quiet, not a lot of infections, many locations will be going back to school.” As of May 21, nearly 1.6 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States. Over 95,000 have died with the disease.