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Dr. Fauci Just Said When We Can Stop Wearing Masks

It depends on a few factors, says the infectious disease specialist.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

For nearly a year, face masks have been a normal part of life around the world during the coronavirus pandemic. Just a few months in, health experts endorsed protective face coverings as an effective way to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. But now that a vaccine is here and the number of infections is on the decline, many people are starting to wonder when life will start returning to normal—or a new normal at least—and wearing a mask in public won't be crucial. In an interview with Fox News' Bret Baier, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, revealed when he predicts we can stop wearing masks. Read on to find out when that is—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Dr. Fauci Said Mask Wearing is Dependent on the "Level of the Virus in the Community"

Dr. Fauci explained that he can't give a definitive answer as to exactly when masks will be a thing of the past, because it "will really be dependent upon how we get the level of virus in the community down." 

"If we can get, and I have used this as an estimate, it's not definitive, if we can get 70 to 85% of the population vaccinated and get to what we would hope would be to a degree or herd immunity—which really is an umbrella or a veil of protection against the community where the level of virus is so low, it's not a threat at all—then at that point, you could start thinking in terms of not having to have a uniform wearing of mask," Dr. Fauci explained. "But we're certainly not near there yet." 

As for timing, he predicts it could happen sometime this year. "You know, it's very difficult to predict but if everything falls into the right place and we get this under control, it is conceivable that you might be able to pull back a bit on some of the public health measures as we get into the late fall of this year," he revealed. "But there's no guarantee of that because if we don't get the overwhelming of this still going to be a considerable amount of virus in the community. And as long as that's the case, people are going to have to wear masks."

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How to Stay Safe Until We Return to "Normal"

So follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, 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.