By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In a Facebook Live chat with Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said New Jersey is “well positioned” for an expected second wave of the coronavirus and serves as an example for other states. Murphy was aggressive and conservative in taking measures to combat the virus.

The slow reopening of the state has caused frustration, but it’s also credited with substantially lowering the number of cases. Murphy received big accolades from Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

“The good news is, we’re a heck of a lot better than we were,” Murphy said.

Murphy, in a Facebook Live chat with Fauci, noted how well New Jersey has recovered from having a big initial spike of COVID-19 cases that’s now down to one of the lowest in the country, even though there’s recently been a slight uptick.

“The thing that makes me very pleased and encouraged about New Jersey is that notwithstanding that you got hit pretty badly. Right now if you continue to carefully and prudently open the economy, you can get through the fall and the winter,” Fauci said.

Fauci said he expects a resurgence with more people inside because of cold weather. He said the measures that helped New Jersey lower the case counts will be especially important going forward — things like wearing face masks and physical distancing.

“The only way we’re going to end this is if everybody pulls together. Put aside the divisiveness nonsense,” Fauci said, “where it’s like if you wear a mask you’re on this side of the political spectrum, if you don’t wear a mask — that is so destructive, we are all in this together.”

Fauci said people should trust science, that when a vaccine is released it will be safe and effective. He said there could be early indications by October and broad distribution next year.

“The logistics and practicality of getting people vaccinated likely will be to the second or third or beginning of the fourth quarter of the year when we sort of get back to normal,” Fauci said.

But Fauci said the vaccine will probably be only 70% to 75% effective, so the virus will still be a threat and people will still need to take precautions.

Stephanie Stahl