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Normality. The word didn't have the same exciting ring before the coronavirus pandemic. But after eight months of profound disruptions to their regular routines, many Americans are wondering when life might return to something resembling normal.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, made a "cautiously optimistic" prediction: That there will be a coronavirus vaccine in November or December, and "some form of normality" is in sight. Read on, to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Fauci feels "cautiously optimistic"
"I feel cautiously optimistic… given the preliminary data we had in the early phase of the trial and some of the animal studies, that we will have a vaccine that is effective," Fauci told ITV News on Friday.
"How effective it is going to be, is totally an open question but we believe we'll have some kind of an effective vaccine by November or December, we're hoping.
"But we have to say for honesty and transparency that's not a guarantee, but I think it's a reasonable projection."
Fauci predicted that that by the third or fourth quarter of 2021, "you're going to start seeing people and the economy and other aspects really starting to get back to some form of normality."
He called that a conservative estimate, saying "theoretically it could be much earlier" but that sufficient numbers of Americans probably wouldn't be able to receive a vaccine and any necessary booster shot before the second half of next year. Several vaccine candidates require two shots delivered weeks apart, which could complicate distribution.
Several vaccines in final phase of trials
Several potential vaccines are currently in clinical trials. On Friday, Johnson&Johnson announced its potential one-dose vaccine caused a strong immune response in 98% of a 1,000-person trial, producing neutralizing antibodies that may defend against coronavirus. That vaccine will proceed to a Phase III trial of 60,000 people, with results expected by the end of the year or early 2021.
Vaccines by at least five other manufacturers are currently in Phase III trials, according to a tracker maintained by the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society.
But get used to your face mask
Fauci and CDC Director Robert Redfield have warned that even if a vaccine is approved and distributed in 2012, additional public health measures like masks and social distancing may be necessary for a time thereafter. "Face masks are the most important, powerful public health tool we have," said Redfield in a Senate hearing on Sept. 16. "I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine."
In the meantime, do all you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.