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This Is When We'll be Back to Normal, Dr. Fauci Just Said

Don’t plan on throwing your masks away anytime soon. 
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Dr. Anthony Fauci

Now that millions of Americans have received one of three COVID-19 vaccines, the question on many people's minds is: When can we return to normal? During an interview on ESPN First Take, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases offered up his best answer to the burning question, and also gave his take on what normal is going to mean going forward. Read on to heart what he had to say—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Dr. Fauci Says There are a Few Steps Between Now and "Normal"

Dr. Fauci explained that there is going to be a "gradual" return to normal, and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will continue to offer "multiple installments of what vaccinated people can do." "You know, the first step in a family setting, vaccinated together with vaccinated, or vaccinated with unvaccinated, you're going to be hearing more and more as the weeks go by about the things that we can recommend that vaccinated people can do," he said. "So we're going to see a continual approach towards normality. I hope by the time we get to the end of the summer, the beginning of the fall, we'll be very close to what we would consider normal."

But here's where it gets tricky, because what does normal really mean? It "is going to be really depending upon where you are and what the level of infection is," says Fauci. "So if it's completely normal, that means that you could get on a plane and go to anywhere in the world and not worry about anything and not wear a mask." However, "I don't think that's going to be that way for quite a while," he added. 

Don't expect to be throwing your masks away anytime soon, according to Fauci. Instead it will be a "gradual withdrawal of the need to get to be wearing masks," he said. "I think we'll be wearing masks longer than what we would consider normal. It will be kind of a new normal where we'll be wearing masks under certain circumstances when you're out in the community and not a high percent that your people are vaccinated."

RELATED: If You Feel This You May Have Already Had COVID Says Dr. Fauci

Dr. Fauci Said the Vaccines are the Key to Normalcy

He did point out that vaccination will be the key to normalcy. "If we can get the overwhelming proportion of the population vaccinated and the level of infection, namely test positivity very, very low, then we can start talking about going back from wearing masks. But right now, even though we're doing well, the baseline of infections every day is between 50 and 60,000. That's extremely high. So even though things are getting much better, that's the reason why we still have to be wearing masks. a lot of infection is still out in the community."

So follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.