Illustration for article titled What Even Is Normal, Anyway?
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been mysteriously absent from White House press conferences lately, has not forgotten about the coronavirus. While states have been experimenting with various levels of reopening, Dr. Fauci spoke to the Telegraph to remind his American compatriots that there is still, in fact, a pandemic afoot. “[The virus] could go on for a couple of cycles, coming back and forth,” Fauci told The Telegraph, “I would hope to get to some degree of real normality within a year or so. But I don’t think it’s this winter or fall, we’ll be seeing it for a bit more.”

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Abandon all hope, ye who thought ye’d be able to travel anywhere in 2020. “It’s conceivable we get two or three vaccines that are successful,” Fauci told the Telegraph, but with states in a rush to re-open, the growing number of people gathering to protest, and America’s anti-vax movement, it’s a toss-up as to how effective a vaccine will be if it ever becomes accessible. “We’re seeing several states, as they try to reopen and get back to normal, starting to see early indications [that] infections are higher than previously,” Fauci said, probably casting a side-eye to Florida and Georgia, who have reopened as if a global pandemic never happened.

In regards to the hundreds gathered to protest police violence, Fauci said, “I would say in a perfect world people shouldn’t congregate in a crowd and demonstrate.” But as I wake up to find, once again, that Breonna Taylor’s murderers have not been arrested, surely the world has not become miraculously perfect overnight. Until perfection is attained, Fauci recommends wearing masks while “chanting, and screaming, and yelling” at protests.

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While Fauci projects that “normality” is a year or so away, he doesn’t exactly go into what “normal’ will look like in 2021. After months of staying indoors, standing six feet apart at grocery stores, and wearing masks everywhere, life amidst a plague is what feels normal now. It’s odd to think that there was ever a time where Americans didn’t live in constant fear of germs or have an aversion to touching just about anything. Years of “normal” life—going outside to congregate and be close—have seemingly been undone in a matter of months. Old pleasures like sitting in a movie theater or walking through a mall feel like irresponsible acts in the face of so much death—and yet it’s the thing that we’re expected to go back to once this is all over for the sake of the American economy.

Probably sensing that he was being a huge downer during his Telegraph interview, Fauci added a sliver of hope. “This will end,” he said.As stressful and devastating as it is, it will end. We are all in it together as a global community, and I do see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

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