In an interview with CBS on Sunday, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said that there is a "very good chance" the coronavirus will become a seasonal occurrence, reports The Hill.
Speaking with Face the Nation anchor Margaret Brennan, Fauci explained that unless the entire world comes together to contain the virus, it will likely keep coming back, much like the regular, seasonal flu.
"Unless we get this globally under control, there is a very good chance that it'll assume a seasonal nature.""We need to be prepared that since it will be unlikely to be completely eradicated from the planet that as we get into next season we may see the beginning of a resurgence," he added.
The federal government has considered this possibility, according to Fauci, which is why it is working "so hard" to improve the nation's response to a future outbreak. According to the expert, the preparations include developing a vaccine and conducting trials.
"Hopefully, if in fact we do see that resurgence, we will have interventions that we did not have in the beginning of the situation that we're in right now," he added.
Fauci conceded that it would be a "false statement" to say that the government has the virus under control. As The Hill notes, other experts are in agreement and claim that preparations need to be made because the virus will likely become a seasonal occurrence.
As of Sunday afternoon, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than 321,000 Americans have tested positive for coronavirus, and at least 9,132 have died from complications associated with it.
According to Fauci, an "escalation" is coming, since the nation is on track to hit peak coronavirus cases. The death toll during the peak, the expert warned, will be "shocking to some."If the coronavirus does indeed become seasonal, developing a vaccine appears to be the best case scenario for the world. Although not a public health expert, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, has long warned about the possibility of a pandemic breaking out, arguing that the United States is not prepared to handle such an outbreak.
In an interview on Sunday, Gates reaffirmed that he believes "things won't go back to truly normal" until a vaccine is developed and made available to everyone. Nevertheless, according to the billionaire, if the government continues imposing measures to contain the virus, the death toll will be lower than projected.
President Donald Trump recently agreed to extended social distancing guidelines until the end of April but appears eager to reopen the economy as soon as possible.