In a virtual interview with the University of Melbourne on Wednesday, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci threw cold water on the expectation that Americans will be able to congregate, gather, and resume their normal activities anytime soon. Asked by the interviewers when Americans can expect to return to some sense of normalcy, Fauci gave a timeline that will come as a shock to many.
“I think you said it correctly, that it’s going to be some time till we get back to what we considered normal before December 2019,” Fauci said. “It will happen gradually, probably very much stimulated by what I hope will be the successful implementation of a COVID-19 vaccine campaign globally. Because if you vaccinate in one country and the rest of the world continues to have a pandemic outbreak, inevitably all countries will again be involved.”
Fauci then outlined what we would need to see in America before returning to normal.
“I would imagine, at least in the United States, the way things are looking, that if we get a vaccination campaign and by the second or third quarter of 2021, we have vaccinated a substantial proportion of the people. I think it will be easily by the end of 2021 and perhaps even into the next year before we start having some semblances of normality,” he said.
Now, we know that Dr. Fauci has come under plenty of criticism from the right – some of it well-warranted, some of it not so much – but it’s probably worth remembering that he’s speculating here. He’s not prescribing or recommending. He’s simply looking at the lay of the land and making his best bet. And we have to imagine that a guy like Fauci is used to hedging those bets on a worst-case-scenario, rather than wanting to give people false hope that winds up being thrown back in his face when people still can’t fill up a concert stadium.
At the same time, we can’t forget that there are other killers out there besides the coronavirus, and some of them have been made worse by the precautions.
Loneliness is a killer all by itself, as we’ve seen from the spiking suicides and arresting levels of new drug addictions. In a startling report this week, NBC News revealed: “Social isolation was listed as a contributing cause of death for at least nine Minnesotans — almost all long-term care residents — from June to September, according to state death records; no deaths in the previous two years cited social isolation as a cause.” These are people literally dying from quarantine, and they should not be taken for granted.
Human beings are social creatures. We need each other. It’s in our tribal-based blood. And the longer these pandemic restrictions force us to deny these biological and evolutionary realities, the worse it’s going to be for our society, our economy, and yes, our overall health.
2022? No, we have to do better than that.