US Might Not See Life Get "Back To Normal" Until 2022, Dr. Fauci Warns

With Larry Kudlow back in front of the cameras on Thursday talking up Thursday's record-breaking GDP report and promising - with a newsman's confidence - that the American economy will have made a "full recovery" by the Spring of next year.

Though he acknowledged that his take was "optimistic", he reiterated that the president doesn't want to shut down the economy again, adding that he doesn't think shutdowns are "helpful".

It's unsurprising to see the White House dispatch Kudlow to carry out a string of TV interviews: Because as the Trump Campaign pushes its message that Trump's response to the pandemic wasn't as fatally flawed as critics have claimed, Dr. Fauci is on the other end, claiming that President Trump's projections for when a vaccine might be approved are fanciful. And as the outbreak has accelerated these past few weeks (with Europe hit much harder than the US), the good doctor has been pushing his estimates for when we might expect a vaccine to be widely available further and further back.

On Wednesday evening, Dr. Fauci appeared on CNBC for an interview with Shep Smith, the latest Fox News refugee to try his luck as restarting his career, only to be hectored by the reporter who repeatedly pressed Dr. Fauci to unreservedly declare that a mandatory mask order must be passed across all of the US.

After acknowledging last night that he "hasn't spoken to the president in quite a while", on Thursday, Dr. Fauci is cranking up his warnings to '11', claiming that life in the US might not go "back to normal" until 2022, or late 2021 at the very least, and that mask wearing would likely continue until around this time next year.

That is, unless Americans change things up and start taking the virus more seriously. The comments were apparently made during a live virtual interview held by the NIH "in cooperation with Facebook and Twitter live".

Earlier, some news outlets reported that Dr. Fauci has just come out in favor of a national mask mandate - Joe Biden's stated preference for combating COVID-19 - for the first time, which is of course nonsense. He's essentially been advocating for a national mandate since it became clear that restrictions and enforcement would vary dramatically from place to place.

When it comes to evaluating how much faith we should place in Dr. Fauci's warnings, just remember, we've been here before...

As Dr. Joseph Ladapo argued in a commentary piece published Thursday by WSJ, data garnered so far shows that widespread mask wearing has made little difference (one widely cited study claimed just a 2% difference in the rate of growth. Though compounding is certainly a factor, the circumstances of the study are hardly definitive. As Dr. Lapado writes: "By paying outsize and scientifically unjustified attention to masking, mask mandates have the unintended consequence of delaying public acceptance of the unavoidable truth. In countries with active community transmission and no herd immunity, nothing short of inhumane lockdowns can stop the spread of Covid-19, so the most sensible and sustainable path forward is to learn to live with the virus."