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While being interviewed recently on CNN’s show State of the Union, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci responded to host Dana Bash’s inquiry into if he thought people would still be wearing masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in 2022 by saying that “it’s possible that will be the case.”
“I think we’re going to have a significant degree of normality, beyond the terrible burden all of us have been through in the last year,” Fauci said. “That as we get into the fall and the winter by the end of the year, I agree with the President that we will be approaching a degree of normality.”
Fauci, 80, who is serving as the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, said that when a degree of normality has been achieved and the wearing of masks can be eventually ended all depends on when enough Americans are able to be vaccinated in order to achieve what is known as “herd immunity.”
“When it goes way down and the overwhelming majority of the people in the population are vaccinated, then I would feel comfortable in saying, you know, ‘We need to pull back on the masks,’” he said.
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Reports indicate that the United States is on the cusp of reaching a COVID-19 death toll of 500,000 in the coming days; Fauci reacted to the grim news by saying that people in the future will refer to this period of time as a “terribly historic milestone.”
“It’s nothing like we’ve ever been through in the last 102 years since the 1918 influenza pandemic. People decades from now are going to be talking about this as a terribly historic milestone in the history of this country,” he said. “It really is a terrible situation that we’ve been through and that we’re still going through, and that’s the reason why we keep insisting to continue with the public health measures because we don’t want this to get much worse than it already is.”
Currently, more than 43.6 million Americans have received their initial dose of vaccine, and 18.8 million have received both.