FRIDAY, July 31, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- When a COVID-19 vaccine is approved, there should be plenty of it available, Anthony Fauci, M.D., infectious diseases chief at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, told a House panel Friday, the Associated Press reported.
Fauci was cautiously optimistic a vaccine would be available by next year. "I believe, ultimately, over a period of time in 2021, that Americans will be able to get it," Fauci said. "I don't think we will have everybody getting it immediately. Ultimately, within a reasonable time, the plans allow for any American who needs the vaccine to get it."
To combat the surging pandemic, Fauci is calling on all Americans to practice social distancing and wearing masks. Surging cases in the South and the West this summer have made it difficult for Americans to quickly return to normal. Fauci said he is concerned that the United States has not followed the example of Asian and European countries also hit by COVID-19. The United States stopped the initial spread, but it never cut the level of new cases as low as other nations. Trying to reopen the economy in the Sunbelt during the past several weeks has resulted in 60,000 to 70,000 new cases and increasing emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths, the AP said. Nearly 5 million Americans have been infected and more than 150,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University experts.
Cases across the South may be peaking, but increases in the Midwest are becoming a concern, Fauci told the AP. "They've really got to jump all over that because if they don't then you might see the surge we saw in some of the Southern states," he said.