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US may have to endure social distancing until 2022 if no vaccine is quickly found, scientists predict

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Social distancing may not be distant – anytime soon.

“If the virus is around in a few people and we aren’t imposing control measures, it will resurge,” said Marc Lipsitch, epidemiology professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health say COVID-19 still poses a serious threat and measures like stay-at-home orders and school closures may be needed intermittently until at least 2022.

“If we could get a vaccine that would be a total game-changer. That’s a long way off, probably, almost certainly a year,” said Lipsitch.

Meanwhile, the White House looks toward restarting the economy.

“The plans to reopen the country are close to being finalized,” President Trump said.

Federal social distancing guidelines are scheduled to expire on May 1, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, calls reopening the country then “overly optimistic.”

Some governors, from both parties, say they’re being cautious.

“Let’s not make the mistake pulling the plug too early, as much as we want to,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom.

That means at least some form of social distancing will likely be the new normal for a while longer.

“It’s pretty unlikely that there’s going to be sports with spectators in the stands this fall and winter, you know, I really hope to be wrong,” said Lipsitch.

Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calls social distancing “one of the most powerful weapons” the country has against the coronavirus.

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