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Dr. Fauci Says We May Be Wearing Masks Into 2022

Herd immunity won’t be achieved for a few years, he says.

One year ago, it was rare to walk by someone on the street wearing a protective face covering. However, the introduction of COVID-19 in December 2019 changed all of that. For the better part of 2020, cloth masks have become just as common as shoes and shirts, required at most indoor establishments and even mandated in some places. While the world eagerly awaits the first COVID vaccines, which could be available in the next few months, many hope that by next year, masks will be a thing of the past. However, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, the preventive tool is going to be the norm for a few more years. Read on, and don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci Said the Vaccine Won't be a "Knockout Punch"

During a Thursday address to the medical community at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia via Zoom, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), revealed that even if a vaccine is 70% effective, and if some people resist taking it, herd immunity will take several months — and possibly years — to be achieved. In other words, the vaccine isn't going to be a "knockout punch" that takes out the highly infectious virus. 

"It's not going to be the way it was with polio and measles, where you get a vaccine, case closed, it's done. It's going to be public-health measures that linger for months and months," Fauci explained. 

"You're not going to have a profound degree of herd immunity for a considerable period of time, maybe toward the end of 2021, into 2022," he continued. "I feel very strongly that we're going to need to have some degree of public-health measures to continue. Maybe not as stringent as they are right now."

These public health measures include the fundamentals he mentions daily: Wear masks. Stay at least six feet from those outside your bubble. Avoid crowds. Minimize time spent in indoor public spaces. Wash hands.

RELATED: 11 Symptoms of COVID You Never Want to Get

Dr. Fauci Warned Against Herd Immunity

He also reiterated that he is very against forcing "herd immunity" by intentionally infecting people with the virus. 

"We're very concerned about this concept of letting people get infected, or letting herd immunity come in," he said. "A lot of people would have to die first before you got to herd immunity." So make the smart choice, and don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah