The same goes for Fauci’s many predictions about when normal life might return. Back in the spring, he was hopeful that some semblance of normalcy would return in the fall. In July, he predicted that everyday life would not be able to pick back up for “a year or so.” And now, he’s estimating that people will still be wearing masks and social distancing well into 2021. It seems that with every passing month, Fauci pushes the goal posts back just a bit further.

This approach might work well in the medical world — after all, it’s better for a doctor to overestimate risk and be proven wrong than to say things will be all right when they are not — but it does not make for good policy. We are now nearly nine months into 15-days-to-stop-the-spread, and the public is tired of being asked to make it over just one more hill. Compliance is waning, pandemic fatigue is spreading, and trust in what the experts have to say is at an all-time low.

What the country needs right now is honesty — not a pat on the back or a vague “we’ll get there when we get there.” People deserve to know just how long this shutdown could last, whether the coronavirus restrictions they’re being asked to obey actually combat the spread of the virus, and how much more they’ll be asked to give up before this thing is over. And if Fauci cannot give them the answers, he should reconsider his role and its purpose.