(CNSNews.com) - Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Monday that getting the nation "back to normal" depends on what you mean by normal.
"If back to normal means acting like there never was a coronavirus problem, I don't think that's going to happen until we do have a situation where you can completely protect the population," Fauci told a news conference led by President Trump.
But when we say getting back to normal, we mean something very different from what we're going through right now. Because right now, we are in a very intense mitigation.
When we get back to normal, we will go back gradually to the point where we can function as a society. But you're absolutely right. I mean, if you want to get to pre-coronavirus, you know, that might not ever happen in the sense of -- the fact that the threat is there.
But I believe with the therapies that will be coming online -- with the fact that I feel confident that over a period of time we'll get a good vaccine, and that we will never have to get back to where we are right back now. So if that means getting back to normal, then we'll get back to normal.
President Trump stepped up to the microphone immediately after Fauci finished speaking:
I think that with the therapies and I think that with the vaccines which I have total confidence are coming, and I'm dealing with the companies...I think that when you add the tremendous stimulus that we're giving, like for instance, deductibility for restaurant expenses, for restaurants and entertainment, the money that we're talking about for small businesses and employees to keep everybody working and other things that we're frankly working on right now, which are going to be great for our people.
I think when you add that to it, I think we can get more than back to normal from an economic standpoint. Actually be better. But more than back to normal. But I would agree that we'd love to see a vaccine, but immediately, we'd love to see a therapeutic. And I think we're getting very close.
A reporter asked Trump if he thinks he'll be able to lift some of the restrictions social distancing restrictions on April 30.
"I don't want to comment on that," Trump replied. "But I can tell you that we certainly want to try. We certainly want to see what's going on. We're doing very well, look."
Trump mentioned that "mitigation" is flattening the upward curve of coronavirus cases in some places, although New York and New Jersey -- which are "crowded and tight," have had serious escalation.
But as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted on Monday, the number of coronavirus deaths in New York, while high, has been "effectively flat for two days," and the total number of hospital admissions is "down," suggesting a possible flattening of the curve.