After a brutal year, is the US getting close to normal? Or at least normal-ish?
New federal guidelines released Monday saying it is safe for fully vaccinated people to gather indoors with each other without masks is adding hope that a return to normality — or something close to it — might be getting closer as the nation hits one year in a locked-down state.
No one knows exactly when it will be normal again — if ever, given how the coronavirus pandemic has elevated concerns about contagious diseases in general.
There’s also quite a bit of uncertainty going forward, especially as variants of the virus continue to circulate.
Still, experts are more optimistic than they have been since the pandemic began, as political leaders plot a path forward, movie theaters in New York reopen and the Chicago Cubs prepare to welcome fans to Wrigley Field for Opening Day — albeit at a 20 percent capacity.
“I think we’re on a trajectory to be in really good shape this summer, certainly in the July timeframe,” said Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research.
A couple possible timeframes:
- Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said last week he thinks vaccination appointments will be “wide open” as soon as April.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky last week pointed to a somewhat longer timeline, saying it would be take “three or four more months” to vaccinate the country.