In the latest example of the often conflicting messages about the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that COVID-19 "won't be a pandemic a lot longer" thanks to the rapid progress on vaccines. His message was seemingly out of step with that of President-elect Joe Biden, who has urged Americans to keep wearing those masks as cases surge to new records and the world faces a long, dark winter before vaccine distribution can begin.
Of course, as WHO and the Gates Foundation struggle to raise some $18 billion for their 'Covax' program to help vaccinate poorer nations, we've seen some scientists warn that certain countries like India and others likely won't ever be able to distribute mRNA vaccines like those being manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, due to the complexity of shipping and storing the vaccines, which must be kept at sub-zero temps.
"Certainly it’s not going to be a pandemic for a lot longer because I believe the vaccines are going to turn that around," Fauci said.
That's not to say the virus isn't here to stay in some form, he added.
"I doubt we’re going to eradicate this," he said. "I think we need to plan that this is something we may need to maintain control over chronically. It may be something that becomes endemic that we have to just be careful about."
Biotech and pharma companies around the world have been racing to develop safe and effective vaccine against the virus, and earlier this week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their candidate was more than 90% effective in a late-stage study. Moderna also said on Wednesday that it had enough data to assess its shot’s efficacy. The company didn’t say when the results would be released, but Dr. Fauci has said that the emergency approval could come within a week.
Dr. Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was speaking at an event organized by Chatham House.