In an interview with MSNBC broadcast Friday night, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that he expects a “real degree of normality” by the 2020 presidential election, which is scheduled for November 3.
Per Mediaite, speaking with anchor Brian Williams, Fauci refused to weigh in on whether all 50 states have in place the essential systems for voting by mail, but suggested that Americans will be able to vote in person if the government continues imposing the measures necessary to contain the coronavirus.
“I would hope that by November we would have things under such control that we could have a real degree of normality. That’s my interest and my job as a public health person,” the White House task force’s key figure said.
As The Hill notes, Republicans and Democrats have feuded over voting by mail. Republicans, led by President Donald Trump, have argued that switching to mail-in voting would be dangerous, with the commander-in-chief suggesting that it usually “doesn’t work out well” for the GOP.
During a press call earlier this week, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said that the Democratic Party is in favor of mail-in voting, because it wants to “remove all obstacles to participation” in the November election.
Fauci also stressed that Americans need to follow the social distancing guidelines, acknowledging that experts do not have “all the information” about COVID-19 yet, which means that it remains unclear whether those that had the virus and recovered can be infected with it again.
According to Fauci, if the novel coronavirus is like similar viruses, “you’re protected from exposure and infection with the identical virus, that’s a presumption that’s based on a lot of good data. What we don’t know is we don’t know how long that protection would last.”
As the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, Fauci has enjoyed high approval ratings from the public, but not everyone agrees with that sentiment. In a column published on Saturday, Republican lawmakers Andy Biggs of Arizona and Ken Buck of Colorado argued that the expert should step aside because the economy needs to be saved.
According to Biggs and Buck, the real question is whether Fauci’s proposed solutions to the coronavirus pandemic “will prove to be more harmful than the disease in the long term.” Fauci, like most experts, has argued that the government needs to impose strict measures in order to contain the virus. According to the two GOP lawmakers, however, the economy needs to be reopened as soon as possible.