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Dr. Fauci says U.S. could expect ‘degree of normality’ in fall

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KRON) — The nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci gave a glimmer of hope Thursday during his first coronavirus briefing under the Biden administration.

Dr. Fauci said if 70 to 85% of Americans get vaccinated by the end or middle of the summer, a “degree of normality” can be expected by around the fall.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed new executive orders to improve the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The president signed 10 orders aimed at jump starting his national COVID-19 strategy to increase vaccinations and testing, lay the groundwork for reopening schools and business, and immediately increase the use of masks.

The U.S. government has delivered nearly 38 million doses of the vaccine, and about 17.5 million of those have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 2.4 million people have received the necessary two doses, by the CDC’s count.

Dr. Fauci said the second round of the vaccine knocked him out for 24 hours.

“I had it on the 19th. I was hoping that I wouldn’t get too knocked out. I did for about 24 hours. Now I’m fine,” he said.

Common side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine are fever, chills, tiredness and headache.

While talking with reporters on Thursday, Dr. Fauci said it felt liberating to “let the science speak” as he transitions from one administration to another.

“It was very clear that there were things that were said, be it regarding things like hydroxychloroquine and other things like that, that really was uncomfortable because they were not based in scientific fact,” he said.

“You can get up here and talk about what you know, what the science is, and know that’s it. Let the science speak. It is somewhat of a liberating feeling,” Fauci added.

Dr. Fauci vouched that he will be transparent going forward with the Biden administration.

“One of the things that we’re going to do is to be completely transparent, open and honest. If things go wrong, not point fingers, but to correct them,” he said. “And to make everything we do be based on science and evidence.”

He also discussed the virus mutation out of the UK that we’re seeing here in the U.S. 

He says that variant is twice as transmissible, but not more deadly but Fauci is warning against complacency.

“We shouldn’t be lulled into complacency about that. Because if you have a virus that’s more transmissible, you’re going to get more cases. When you get more cases, you’re going to get more 

hospitalizations, and when you get more hospitalizations, you’re ultimately going to get more deaths,” Dr. Fauci said. 

As it stands right now, the current vaccines available are efficacious in preventing the spread of the mutation out of the UK.

He said it doesn’t appear that the South African strain is in the U.S., but says “the level of comprehensive sequence surveillance thus far is not at the level we would have liked.”

“We’re paying very, very careful attention to this and we take it very seriously,” he said.

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