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.
Why it might take 7 years for us to return to normal

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.
We’re still far away from returning to normal
The U.S. could return to normal by fall, Dr. Fauci says
  • 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.”