Dr. Fauci Says This Is When You'll Be Able to Throw Away Your Face Mask

The nation's top infectious disease expert says this important milestone must be hit first.

The arrival of the coronavirus pandemic essentially forced the entire world to put "normal life" on hold while we combat the spread of the deadly disease. But as an effective vaccine has begun to be rolled out across the globe, many are beginning to wonder exactly when things will start to go back to the way they were pre-pandemic—especially when it comes to wearing PPE in public. Well, according to Anthony Fauci, MD, you may be able to throw away your face mask before the end of 2021. Read on for more of his predictions, and for the latest from the leading immunologist, check out Dr. Fauci Just Said You'll Be Able to Get the COVID Vaccine Even Sooner.

Read the original article on Best Life.

We likely have barely a year left of masks.

Woman in a mask looking out the window

Thanks to the release of an effective vaccine, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director now believes that a more clear timeline of what's to come with the coronavirus is starting to unfold. And while he's previously warned that simply getting inoculated doesn't mean you can immediately toss your PPE, getting enough of the population vaccinated will effectively bring about the end of the health guidelines we currently have to follow.

"I don't believe we're going to be able to throw the masks away and forget about physical separation in congregate settings for a while, probably likely until we get into the late fall and early next winter, but I think we can do it," he said while appearing by video conference at a Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual health event on Dec. 14. And for more on what will put the pandemic in the past, check out This Many People Need to Get Vaccinated to End COVID.

But you won't wake up one day and just be able to toss yours.

A person throwing away a face mask into a garbage can.

"[It's] not going to be like turning a light switch on and off. It's not going to be overnight," Fauci explained. "It's going to be gradual, and I think we will know when we see the level of infection in the country at a dramatically lower level than it is right now that we can start gradually tiptoeing towards normality." And for more on how the pandemic is affecting your area, check out This Is How Bad the COVID Outbreak Is in Your State.

Not even the vaccine will stop mask mandates.

Woman wearing protective mask at supermarket
eldar nurkovic / Shutterstock

On Dec. 10, Fauci told Chris Cuomo on CNN's Cuomo Prime Time that we'll be wearing masks well after the vaccinations begin. "We're not through with [masks] just because we're starting a vaccine program—even though you as an individual might have gotten vaccinated, it is not over by any means," he said. "We still have a long way to go." And for more on the face covering to ditch, check out This Type of Face Mask Isn't Protecting You From COVID, WHO Warns.

He's troubled by one similarity with another public health crisis.

flu epidemic 1918

As the end of the pandemic begins to hopefully come into sight, Fauci admits that there are a few troubling signs that give him pause and make him a little concerned for the future. Specifically, he pointed out how the Spanish Flu pandemic a century ago carried some of the same issues we see today.

"It's eerie that there were things that went on back in 1918 that are so strikingly similar then that we see now, including the denial [in] some states and cities that there really was a problem," he explained during the Dec. 14 event. "The reluctance to wear masks on some parts of the country; the reluctance to shut down things—some cities shut down, some didn't—and it was clear that those that shut down did better both from a health standpoint and an economic standpoint," he said.

Referring again to the Spanish Flu, Fauci said, "that was 102 years ago, and it's sort of almost repeating itself now in 2020, so I hope we don't have that kind of forgetfulness after this." And for more COVID updates, sign up for our daily newsletter.


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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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