White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci says that the coronavirus is “not going to be a pandemic” much longer, thanks to vaccines.
“Certainly it’s not going to be a pandemic for a lot longer, because I believe the vaccines are going to turn that around,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who spoke to a U.K. think tank this week after Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE reported that the vaccine they are developing is more than 90% effective, according to a report by Bloomberg News.
“Vaccines will help us,” added Fauci. “What we’ve got to do is just hang on and continue to double down on the public health measures.”
On Monday, just six days after the 2020 presidential election, Pfizer announced that an early peek at its vaccine data suggests it may be 90 percent effective at preventing the coronavirus, suggesting that the company is on track later this month to file an emergency use application with U.S. regulators.
A few weeks ago, however, Fauci was pessimistic about the pandemic going away, even with a vaccine, as he said that he believed the United States would not return back to normal until 2022.
“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,” said Fauci in an interview with Australia’s University of Melbourne.
Fauci’s role became politically controversial, after President Donald Trump pushed back against Fauci’s recommendations for more shutdowns, and Democratic challenger Joe Biden suggested he would put Fauci in charge of his coronavirus response.