Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

Fauci warned the pandemic 'will get worse' exactly 1 year ago. Today he sees 'light at the end of the tunnel.'

Dr. Anthony Fauci is looking back on his dire warning that the COVID-19 pandemic was about to get worse exactly one year later — and now, he's able to offer a far more hopeful message.

During a congressional hearing one year ago on March 11, 2020, Fauci warned that "we will see more cases, and things will get worse than they are right now" in the COVID-19 pandemic. That was also the same day that, in two back-to-back surreal pieces of news, the NBA season was suspended and Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson revealed they had contracted the coronavirus. On Good Morning America, Fauci looked back on his March 11 comments a year later, acknowledging that even back then, he couldn't have imagined just how much worse the pandemic would ultimately get.

"I did not realize in my mind even anything close to more than half a million people having died in this country," Fauci said.

Fauci also told Today that learning the current COVID-19 death toll "would have shocked me completely" a year ago, noting, "I knew we were in for trouble ... but I did not in my mind think that much worse was going to be 525,000 deaths."

But with three COVID-19 vaccines rolling out around the United States, Fauci said on Today he sees "light at the end of the tunnel" and that "things look good," though at the same time, he warned that states shouldn't be too quick to lift COVID-19 restrictions, as "we've got to keep putting our foot to the pedal when it comes to public health measures."

Asked when the U.S. might see a return to normalcy, Fauci also predicted that "by the time we get into the mid-to-late summer, early fall, we're going to start seeing a big, big difference." Brendan Morrow