Hearst Newspapers participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.

With COVID deaths at 500K, Fauci says masks could last until 2022

"It depends on the dynamics of the virus in the community."

N95 face masks at WellBefore for $2.99 each

N95 face masks at WellBefore for $2.99 each

Marko Geber/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical advisor for COVID-19, said on Sunday that it’s possible Americans will still being wearing masks until the end of the 2021, but he quickly clarified that this is not for certain, and specific predictions are difficult.

Fauci spoke with CNN host Dana Bash about what Americans should expect about life “returning to normal” in 2021. When asked if Americans will still be wearing masks in 2022, he said it was “possible.”

“It depends on the dynamics of the virus in the community,” Fauci said. “If you see the level coming down really very low, I want it to keep going down to a baseline that’s so low… that there’s a minimal, minimal threat that you will be exposed to someone who is infected.”

The dynamics of the virus in American depend on successful vaccines rollouts, along with continued social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE) use in the coming months.

N95 face masks at WellBefore for $2.99 each

WellBefore N95 V1 Medical Respirator Mask - FDA Appendix A Approved, EUA Authorized
wellbefore
wellbefore.com
$2.99

“So if you combine getting most of the people in the country vaccinated with getting the level of virus in the community very low, then I believe we’ll be able to say for the most part we don’t have to wear masks.”

Last week the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its mask guidelines with 7 tips for effective mask use, including specific instructions for double-masking and using a mask brace.

Fauci’s comments came just one day before the United States COVID-19 death toll reached 500,000, according to an NBC News tally. The U.S. fatalities account for approximately one-fifth of the 2.46 million deaths worldwide, and is just shy of the 675,000 people killed by the 1918 flu pandemic. Fauci responded to the grim benchmark by telling ABC that the United States response to the pandemic has been “worse than most any other country.”

50-pack of disposable face masks for $13.99 at Amazon

Disposable Face Masks,Face Masks of 50 Pack Disposable Mask-Black
SUDILO
amazon.com
$8.99

In recent weeks, two new COVID variants have been identified in the United States: One, originally identified in South Africa, was detected in Long Island, New York. Another, first identified in the United Kingdom, was found in West Virginia.

Further complicating matters, severe weather in parts of the country has slowed vaccine rollout.