Top health officials told Congress on Friday that the COVID-19 pandemic is “likely to continue for some time.” Because of this, they said, it’s important to continue practicing social distancing, wearing face masks and washing your hands.
“While it remains unclear how long the pandemic will last, COVID-19 activity will likely continue for some time,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday alongside the CDC’s Robert Redfield and Testing Czar Admiral Brett Giroir.
"I do not believe it would disappear because it is such a highly transmissible virus. It's unlikely it is going to disappear,” Fauci said.
Thus far in the United States, there have been 4.59 million cases of coronavirus and 155,000 deaths.
During the hearing, Republican Jim Jordan challenged Fauci’s recommendation to avoid crowds and called his suggestion a political one, due to churches being banned from gathering over a certain number of people in certain states, but protests having no limit.
"I don't judge one crowd versus another crowd," Fauci told Jordan. "When you're in a crowd, particularly if you are not wearing a mask, that increases the spread.”
Fauci did add, though, that he feels optimistic about a future vaccine that may be available in 2021.
"There's never a guarantee that you're going to get a safe and effective vaccine ... but we feel cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine by the end of this year,” he said.
A COVID-19 vaccine, developed by a biotechnology company Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, is expected to be trialed on 30,000 adult Americans at 100 research sites across the country, according to Moderna. Participants will not know whether they received the vaccine.