Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted Sunday that America will be "as close to back to normal as we can" by next Mother’s Day if certain conditions are met.
Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the White House's chief medical adviser, made the prediction during ABC’s "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos, who had asked him to "give everyone a sense of what the country is going to look like next Mother’s Day."
"I hope that next Mother’s Day, we’re going to see a dramatic difference than what we’re seeing right now. I believe that we will be about as close to back to normal as we can. And there’s some conditions to that, George," Fauci said during the segment. "We’ve got to make sure that we get the overwhelming proportion of the population vaccinated."
When the majority of Americans are vaccinated, he said, COVID-19 "doesn't really have any place to go."
"There aren’t a lot of vulnerable people around. And where there are not a lot of vulnerable people around, you’re not going to see a surge. You’re not going to see the kinds of numbers we see now," he said. "That being the case, I think we can approach what we use to remember as normal before all of this tragedy happened."
Fauci was also asked during the segment what more he believes could be done to address India’s startling surge in coronavirus cases.
Infections have swelled in India since February in a disastrous turn blamed on more contagious variants as well as government decisions to allow massive crowds to gather for religious festivals and political rallies. On Friday India reported a new daily record of 414,188 confirmed cases and 3,915 additional deaths. The official daily death count has stayed over 3,000 for the past 10 days.
Fauci said he had several suggestions and has spoken with Indian officials on the matter.
"They really got to get hospital beds and do really what the Chinese did way back a year or so ago, where you essentially build up with – the equivalent of field hospitals. You’ve got to get that," Fauci said. "You can’t have people out in the street not having a hospital bed."
He also called the lack of available oxygen for patients "really critical."
"But the end game of this all, George, is going to be to get people vaccinated," Fauci said. "India is the largest vaccine producing country in the world, they’ve got to get their resources not only from within but also from without and that’s the reason why other countries need to chip in to be able to get either supplies to the Indians to make their own vaccines or to get vaccines donated."
Another way to increase vaccine production numbers is to have companies that are already capable of making vaccines "really scale up" in production for the nation.
Fauci also said he has advised Indian authorities to "shut down" the country "to break the chain of transmission."
Over the past month, nearly a dozen of India’s 28 federal states have announced some restrictions, but they fall short of a nationwide lockdown imposed last year that experts credit with helping to contain the virus for a time.
Many medical experts, opposition leaders and even supreme court judges have called for national restrictions, arguing that a patchwork of state rules is insufficient to quell the rise in infections.
Meanwhile, on NBC’s "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Fauci was asked about a University of Washington analysis that found that over 900,000 Americans – more than double what had been counted – have died from COVID-19.
"We've been saying, and the CDC has been saying all along, that it is very likely that we're undercounting," he told NBC’s Chuck Todd.
"I think there's no doubt, Chuck, that we are and have been undercounting," Fauci continued. "What that tells us is something that we've known … we're living through a historic pandemic, the likes of which we haven't seen in over 100 years."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.