Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said the nation could return to a "degree of normality" by fall.
The physician and immunologist made the comments on MSNBC's The 11th Hour on Friday evening.
Asked by host Brian Williams if by November voters will be able to participate in the upcoming presidential election, Fauci said that while this was not his area of expertise, "I would hope that by November we would have things under such control that we could have a real degree of normality."
Fauci made the forecast as the country continues to lead the world in reported COVID-19 cases, with more than half a million, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, more than 18,000 people have died in the U.S. of the disease caused by the new coronavirus. In the past 24 hours, the U.S. became the first country to report more than 2,000 COVID-19 deaths in a day.
Worldwide, more than 1.6 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, almost 103,000 people have died, and more than 377,040 are known to have recovered. As shown in the Statista map below, the coronavirus has reached every continent except Antarctica.A graphic provided by Statista shows the global spread of the new coronavirus as of early April 9. More than 1.5 million people have been afflicted, over 346,000 of whom have recovered and over 93,000 of whom have died. Statista
In hard-hit New York, more people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 than any country outside the U.S. Attempting to temper the tragic figures with a glimmer of hope, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told his daily press briefing on Friday that following a record high on Wednesday, 22 fewer people died on Thursday at 777.
"The leveling off of the number of lives lost is [a] somewhat hopeful sign," he said.
Earlier in the week, the governor said it appeared measures taken to tackle COVID-19 were "flattening the curve so far," but warned letting up would risk seeing figures worsen again.
On Friday, Cuomo said there was a "dramatic decline" in the three-day average of hospitalizations, although the change was not down relative to Thursday. ICU admissions were down "for the first time since we started this intense journey," he said.
That day, President Donald Trump told a White House coronavirus press briefing that deciding how and when to re-open the economy would be one of the hardest he's made.
"I don't know that I've had a bigger decision. But I'm going to surround myself with the greatest minds. Not only the greatest minds, but the greatest minds in numerous different businesses, including the business of politics and reason," Trump said.
"And we're going to make a decision, and hopefully it's going to be the right decision."
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