By Lisa Lambert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will likely see another cycle of the coronavirus sometime after the current outbreak has ended, but entire cities will not be need to be closed down again because of what is being learned now, the government’s top infectious diseases expert said on Thursday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told basketball star Stephen Curry in an interview on Instagram that he expects to see another cycle of the coronavirus, because he cannot “imagine it’s just going to disappear.”

But he said a new cycle would not take the same, drastic toll on daily life.

“We will get enough experience so that when it does come back we’ll be able to immediately identify, isolate and contact-trace. And if you do that effectively you don’t have an outbreak,” Fauci said. “You contain it at a very low level. Which would mean we won’t have to lock down again.”

“I think we can avoid that. It will be much different than what we’re doing right now,” he added.

Fauci said the U.S. government will soon set guidelines to help Americans who recover from a coronavirus infection determine when it is safe to return to regular life. A large number of sick Americans would make it infeasible to use medical tests to determine a return to health and guidance was needed, he said.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Leslie Adler)