Dr. Tom Inglesby: US return to normalcy must be 'somewhat gradual' until coronavirus treatments approved

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Dr. Tom Inglesby, the director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School for Public Health, told "The Story" Monday night that America will need to take "somewhat gradual" steps toward normalcy until a vaccine or other coronavirus treatment makes it to market.

Inglesby's comments echoed those of White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci, who told reporters Monday that it is unlikely that the U.S. will fully "return to normal" until a vaccine is approved and in widespread use.

"Before we have a vaccine or a widespread therapy that provides some kind of short term immunity, if that becomes possible, then our movement back towards normal will need to be somewhat gradual," Inglesby explained.

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"I think we'll be able to make moves in that direction once we have new things in place like diagnostics for outpatients ... [and] more masks, and once we drive our numbers down much lower across the country ... but the first moves we're going to want to make are going to be partial moves," he continued.

"We are going to try and test the waters to make sure we don't have new spikes of disease and I think if we went right back to how we were in February, or January...we would have a very high new risk of new spikes of this disease, so I think we're going to have to go there gradually."

Inglesby acknowledged that while such gradual moves are "going to be challenging" because  "people have given up a lot" and are anxious to return to their daily routines, there are certain precautions that the country will need to implement before the possibility of a complete return to pre-pandemic life."

"For example in Taiwan, kids went back to school with masks, sat a bit further apart, they changed the way they did free periods ... they kind of changed the structure a bit but they were back to school," Inglesby said.

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"You could imagine those kinds of changes happening in other ways ... when people go back to work ... could they make adjustments so they have a bit more personal space? They're wearing fabric masks ... they are much more aware of their space ... " he explained.

"Those kinds of things may be the steps between where we are now and the steps towards complete normalcy."

The federal government's social distancing guidelines were introduced on March 16 and are currently in effect until April 30.