The Slatest

Fauci Warns It’s “Possible” Americans Will Still Be Wearing Face Masks in 2022

Dr. Anthony Fauci wears a protective mask during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on November 19, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Anthony Fauci wears a protective mask during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on November 19, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci gave a reality check for all those who think the rapidly moving vaccination campaign in the United States could soon mean they’ll be able to throw face masks in the garbage. Even though the United States could reach “a significant degree of normality” by the end of this year that may not necessarily mean an end to masks, Fauci said on CNN. When CNN’s Dana Bash asked whether Americans would still have to wear masks next year, Fauci hesitated to give a definite answer. “You know, I think it is possible that that’s the case,” Fauci said.

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Fauci explained that whether masks would still be recommended or not would really be based on the circulation of the virus. “It depends on the level of dynamics of virus that’s in the community,” Fauci said. “I want it to keep going down to a baseline that’s so low there is virtually no threat.” The key is the combination between wearing masks and getting vaccinated. “If you combine getting most of the people in the country vaccinated with getting the level of virus in the community very, very low, then I believe you’re going to be able to say, for the most part, we don’t necessarily have to wear masks,” he added.

Fauci appeared on several Sunday news programs as the United States was on the brink of reaching 500,000 deaths from the coronavirus. “It’s really horrible,” Fauci said. “It’s something that is historic. It’s nothing like we have ever been through in the last 102 years, since the 1918 influenza pandemic.” The first known death in the United States from COVID-19 took place in early February 2020. Four months later, the death toll had reached 100,000. Around the world, almost 2.5 million people have died from the coronavirus.

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