The nation's top infectious diseases expert said Monday at a White House press briefing that the illness that has so far sickened more than 360,000 Americans and resulted in more than 10,000 deaths across the country may cause a permanent change.
"If back to normal means acting like there never was a coronavirus problem, I don't think that's going to happen,'' Fauci said. "If you want to get to pre-coronavirus, you know, that might not ever happen in the fact that the sense that the threat is there."
On a more optimistic note, he said that vaccines and possible therapies are in development, which gives him hope "that we will never have to get back to where we are right now."
Fauci has previously said that without a vaccine, it's possible that the coronavirus could still come back every year, so the only way to completely protect the population is by developing a vaccine. Health experts have estimated it could take 12 to 18 months to create a vaccine.
State and local officials across the country are trying to mitigate the effects of the illness, which has killed more than 75,000 people across the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Governors in Michigan and Illinois are warning that hospitals will run out of crucial personal protective equipment within days, while an internal government watchdog report released Monday found that hospitals nationwide are facing critical shortages of medical equipment.
Eight states remain without a full order for residents to stay at home, and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is allowing beaches to reopen, overturning orders from local officials who called the move "reckless."