Texas and Mississippi may have dropped their mask mandates and announced that all businesses are allowed to be 100% open, but "now is not the time to pull back" on public health measures, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.
"The good news is we have vaccines coming online. You see the curve of infections coming down," Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "But we have reached a bit of plateau where the deflection isn't going straight down the way it was."
And that, he said, is a "bad sign" that was seen last summer, when attempts were made to open the economy only to have another surge of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Biden said this week that there will be enough doses of vaccine by May to vaccinate everyone, and Fauci said there are still some stumbling blocks, because there remain logistical challenges when it comes to getting the shots into people's arms.
There is also the problem with vaccine hesitancy, and the administration is reaching out on that matter, particularly in minority groups who are skeptical, added Fauci.
It is also a complicated matter to determine if schools will be open, as the most important thing is to ensure health and safety.
"It's just not easy, open or shut," said Fauci. "We have to make sure that schools have the resources to do the kinds of things they need to do."
Meanwhile, Fauci said he is optimistic about the country moving to some version of being back to normal by fall, but that will depend on how the vaccination program continues to roll out and more.
"It's not going to be a light switch on and off," he said. "Children will be getting back to school. You will see restaurants having indoor dining. By the time we get to fall with the implementation of the vaccine program, you're going to see something noticeably in the direction of going back to normality and very likely will get there by the end of the year."
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