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U.S. might be back to normal by ‘next Christmas,’ President Biden says

President Joe Biden added another date to the confusing timeline of when we will get back to normal

President Joe Biden speaks with a reporter on the South Lawn of the White House after stepping off Marine One, early Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Washington. Biden is returning to Washington after participating in a town hall event in Milwaukee.
President Joe Biden speaks with a reporter on the South Lawn of the White House after stepping off Marine One, early Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Washington. Biden is returning to Washington after participating in a town hall event in Milwaukee.
Associated Press

The United States will likely see a return to normalcy “next Christmas,” President Joe Biden said Tuesday night at a CNN town hall event.

  • It’s unclear if “next Christmas” meant Christmas 2021 or Christmas 2022.

What happened?

Biden said the current vaccination plan — along with the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine — could allow the country to control the spread of COVID-19, according to CNN. He said the spread of the coronavirus will “diminish considerably” due to herd immunity.

  • “So if that works that way, as my mother would say with the grace of God and the goodwill of the neighbors, that by next Christmas I think we’ll be in a very different circumstance God willing, than we are today,” Biden said at the CNN event.
  • “A year from now, I think that there will be significantly fewer people having to be socially distanced, have to wear a mask, but we don’t know,” he said.

Other dates

There have been a number of dates thrown around for when the United States will return to normal.

  • 2022 New Year’s Day: Bloomberg created a database for COVID-19 distribution that suggested the U.S. will likely return to normal by 2022 New Year’s Day, as I wrote about for the Deseret News. That’s when the country will have 70% to 85% immunity from the coronavirus due to the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s based on current distribution numbers. But an increased vaccination distribution could change that number.
  • Fall 2021: Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN in February that the United States will likely see herd immunity by summer or fall 2021. He said that assumes COVID-19 variants don’t become more widespread. Fauci predicted this in January, too, saying it would happen if vaccine developers can speed up production, as I wrote for the Deseret News.
  • 2022: Back in November 2020, Fauci said the U.S. could return to normal by the end of 2021 or even early 2022, as I wrote about for the Deseret News. He said he could see mask wearing being more common even if COVID-19 has been diminished.
  • Seven years: The aforementioned tracker from Bloomberg suggested the entire world might need seven years to return to normal since some areas won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as others, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.

Meanwhile, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration chief, told CNBC that getting the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t mean people can return to pre-pandemic life.

  • “It’s not going to be like it was in 2017 and 2018, when we didn’t worry at all about catching a respiratory pathogen,” he said. “We’re going to worry about it, even if we’re vaccinated.”
  • “I think we’ll worry much less than we’re worrying right now, hopefully.”