White House infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that normality could only come back “within a year or so” as the country sees a spike in new coronavirus infections.

In an interview with the UK-based Telegraph, Fauci expressed concerns about the ongoing protests sweeping the nation could become hotspots of COVID-19 infection.

Fauci’s comments come as coronavirus cases are rising in more than a dozen US states, prompting some governors to reconsider their reopening plans.

Some states, including Oregon and Nevada, have halted several reopening plans as they investigate the new spike in coronavirus cases. 

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appears at the White House, in Washington DC, April 1, 2020.

Alex Brandon/AP

White House infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has warned of waves of coronavirus infection for months to come, and that normality will only return “within a year or so.”

In an interview with the Telegraph published on Sunday, Fauci said he was concerned about the ongoing protests that are sweeping the nation —and the world — following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died during a police arrest

The mass gatherings had the potential to become hotspots of coronavirus infection. “I’m concerned it’s happening. I hope the individual states can blunt that. It [the virus] could go on for a couple of cycles, coming back and forth.”

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, he said.”

Fauci’s comments come as the coronavirus cases are rising in more than a dozen US states, prompting some governors to reconsider their reopening plans.

“We were successful in suppressing the virus in cities where there were major outbreaks — New York, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans,” Dr Fauci said. “But 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.

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At least 21 states in the country have seen a rise in their average daily new coronavirus cases, according to The Washington Post, with Alabama, Oregon, and South Carolina witnessing some of the biggest increases. 

In Florida, coronavirus cases surged 35% on Saturday over the previous day to 2,581 cases. The Sunshine State has now hit a total of 73,552.

It was the third record jump in three days running of new COVID-19 cases, reported The Miami Herald. The Republican Party is planning to hold its convention in the state, in August.

On Thursday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced a week-long postponement of applications to reopen.

In a statement cited in Reuters, Brown said: “This is essentially a statewide ‘yellow light,’ it’s time to press pause for one week before any further reopening.”

In Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert ordered most of the state to stop reopening until June 26 while it looked into a new spike in cases.

“I don’t want to go forward and then take a step backward,” Herbert said on Friday, according to Reuters.

Speaking to CNN earlier this week, Fauci told CNN that the country is bound to see an increase in infection numbers as economies start reopening, but that if states are seeing “more [COVID-19] hospitalizations”, its a sign that they are “going the wrong direction.”

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new coronavirus guidelines that encourage cloth face coverings while attending large events such as demonstrations or political rallies.

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