Fauci cautiously warns we could still be wearing masks in 2022

There's no definitive timeline for when things will go back to pre-pandemic days, he said.

According to The Washington Post, leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said masks may still be necessary in 2022 unless the number of new COVID-19 cases drastically reduces. 

During an appearance on CNN, Dr. Fauci told Dana Bash that there is no definitive timeline for when things will go back to how they were pre-pandemic, but the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says he’s waiting for the virus to “keep going down to a baseline that’s so low, there is virtually no threat.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a recent White House press briefing. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“If you combine getting most of the people in the country vaccinated with getting the level of virus in the community very, very low,” Dr. Fauci continued, “then I believe you’re going to be able to say, you know, for the most part, we don’t necessarily have to wear masks.” 

He was sure to stress the fact that these are just estimations, and because of the ever-evolving situation — which now includes new, potentially more-contagious variants of the virus — we can’t know what will be a necessity in the future.

Read More: Biden cheers vaccine progress but says masks remain a must

As has been widely reported, the politicization of wearing facemasks has been a hot-button since the pandemic began ramping up in the United States. Former President Donald Trump, who has downplayed the need for masks, famously said during a presidential debate with Joe Biden, “When needed, I wear masks. I don’t wear masks like him.”  Trump went on to mock the man who’d eventually beat him, saying: “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from them, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

On Friday, President Biden announced that by his estimation, America could get back to some form of normalcy by Christmas.

Read More: Wearing masks could save over 100,000 lives through February: study

Dr. Fauci agreed with Biden. “It may or may not be precisely the way it was in November of 2019,” he maintained, “but it will be much, much better than what we’re doing right now.”

According to Newsweek, 83 percent of Americans believe wearing a facemask can help fight the effects of the pandemic, although just over half of the U.S. adult population is said to wear them, per a University of California Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research poll.

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