Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the government’s coronavirus task force, believes the US coronavirus pandemic may be largely “behind us” by early June if cases continue falling.

In an interview with conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on Thursday, Pence was optimistic that a large number of Americans may have been exposed to COVID-19, leading to a “degree of immunity.”

“I truly do believe if current trend lines hold, that by early June, we could largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us, and begin to see our nation open back up and go back to work,” Pence said.

“There is a high likelihood that if you’ve had this coronavirus in the past, that you will enjoy some immunity from it in the future,” the veep added.

“It’s among the reasons why our nation, should the coronavirus reemerge at any time in the future, our nation will be in a much better place,” he said.

“If some of those early studies hold out, there will be an awful lot of Americans in the fall and in the winter of next year that actually enjoy a degree of immunity from the coronavirus. That will be a bulwark against this.”

Deaths from COVID-19 are falling in hard-hit states such as New York, but some governors and health experts fear a second outbreak if social distancing controls are lifted too quickly.

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