Masks will need to be worn even with a vaccine - Fauci

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Dr. Anthony Fauci says public health measures should still remain in place following the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.

America's top infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci has warned, "it's not going to be a light switch" back to what life was like before the pandemic.

About "long COVID", Dr. Fauci said, "We're starting to see emerging information".

Still, Fauci highlighted his hopes for the future.

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"It was actually an independent body of people who have no allegiance to anyone - not to the administration, not to me, not to the companies - that looked at the data and deemed it to be sound", he said.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration approved just that - allowing emergency use of the first coronavirus test that can be administered at home and deliver results in 30 minutes. "Why people still insist that something that's staring you right in the face is not real", he said. "It requires a prescription. I would take the vaccine and I would recommend that my family take the vaccine".

Hospitals are at capacity in several states and doctors are pleading with Americans to hunker down because the "vaccines are coming, it's just a matter of a couple of months". You tell companies it's what we need. "Of course, it would be better if we could start working with them".

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It is also generating a good antibody response . "We believe that this makes the vaccine suitable for emergency use during the pandemic", Zhu added.

Dr Fauci at the same time said that Covid-19 could circulate for years and people needed to back up vaccine shots with most cheap and yet effective means of battling the virus -wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining social distancing.

"It's going to be a gradual accrual of more normality as the weeks and the months go by, as we get well into 2021", The Hill news website quoted Fauci as further saying in the interview. "It's probably going to take a year or two to happen", he added.

"So, if we get the overwhelming majority of people taking the vaccine, and you have on the one hand an effective vaccine, on the other hand, a high degree of uptake of the vaccine, we could start getting things back to relative normal as we get into the second and third quarter of (2021), where people can start thinking about doing things that were too unsafe just months ago", Fauci said.

"While we for sure won't abandon public health measures, we may ease up on stringency as we get into the spring and closer to Easter", Fauci said.

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