Coronavirus: No return to normal life until the end of 2021, says US expert

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There will be no return to normal life, such as eating out at restaurants, attending a concert or watching a live sporting event, until at least the end of next year because there will be no coronavirus vaccine available until then, according to a top US medical expert.

There has been a healthy debate in the US about when life might return to normal as patience wears thin with severe restrictions on movement and economic activity collapses, with millions of people out of work.

“What I’m really frustrated by is sort of the White House approach of ‘we got to get back to normal, Easter, we got to have football season in September,’ all this that isn’t happening,” said Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, an oncologist at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and one of the architects of Obamacare.

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“You are not going to be opening up the economy by the end of April. We have to prepare the country… This is an 18-month process. We need structural changes, not band aids of a few weeks, if you're a small business trying to plan for the 18 months, eight weeks just [isn’t going] to do it,” he said.


Hospital personnel in Oklahoma City

Hospital personnel wave and photograph people participating in a
Hospital personnel wave and photograph people participating in a

“I don’t think we’re going to get a vaccine before next year and I would say out to the public or general immunity not until July, August, September timeframe in 2021. That’s kind of the optimistic reading. So 15 months, 18 months from now,” he added.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday said the coronavirus outbreak had reached its peak and that the US economy was "going to do very well." His comments came just after his administration's top economic officials said they believed the US economy could start to reopen for normal business in May.

US unemployment has risen by 16 million in three weeks.

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 1.6 million people and killed more than 95,000 worldwide as of Friday, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

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