In speaking to State of the Union host Dana Bash, Dr. Anthony Fauci discussed schools reopening, the historic, horrifying milestone of the number of American lives lost to COVID-19, the importance of getting more people vaccinated, and the big question as of late: When can we finally stop wearing masks? Given that some people still refuse to wear masks at all, it’s no surprise that Fauci is not terribly eager to give a declarative timeline on when we can safely return to normal. After all, projections are one thing, and, as we’ve seen when restaurants refused to close and people meltdown over being asked to wear face masks indoors, what people actually do to help stop the spread is another.

Bash asked Fauci if he thinks people in the U.S. will still be wearing masks in 2022, as well as when we’ll finally return to some degree of normality. “You know, I think it is possible that that’s the case,” Fauci said in reference to wearing masks in 2022. With a good-natured laugh, he added: “And, again, it really depends on what you mean by normality.” Given that some people never really stopped living a “normal” life, it’s hard to make a blanket statement on what “normal” looks like for anyone. Ultimately, Fauci did say he agrees with President Joe Biden’s projection on when “normal” might return for most of us. He also clarified whether he’s seeing his own family at this point in the pandemic.

Bash presented Fauci with a hypothetical based on her own family’s situation, and it’s one a lot of people can probably relate to. According to Bash, her parents have been fully vaccinated. Great! But, in Fauci’s perspective, does that mean it’s safe for them to spend time with their grandchildren, who have not been vaccinated?

Unsurprisingly, Fauci wasn’t willing to make a promise either way. “I’m not going to make a recommendation now,” Fauci replied, promising that there will be recommendations coming out on these scenarios. “I don’t want to be making a recommendation now on public TV. I would want to sit down with the team… You will be seeing a relaxation of some of the stringencies as more and more people get vaccinated, I promise you that.”

Bash asked if Fauci is seeing his family, given that he’s fully vaccinated, and Fauci said, “Not yet.” With the exception being his wife, whom he lives with, but not yet his children, who haven’t been vaccinated yet.

“Do you think Americans will still be wearing masks in 2022?” Bash asked.

To Fauci, it’s “possible.” Among other factors, Fauci mentions the level of the virus in communities, as well as possible other virus strands, may affect that outcome. 

“If normality means exactly the way things were before we had this happen to us… I mean, I can’t predict that,” Fauci stated. He stressed that normal might not be “precisely what we were doing in November 2019,” but that it will be “much much better” than what we are doing now.

Fauci added that he agrees with President Biden’s projection that as approach fall and winter, we will also approach “a degree of normality.” Does that mean schools being open? Fauci hopes so. Does it mean we’ll be back in movie theaters? Playing contact sports? Hugging family we don’t live with? Fauci didn’t go into those sort of specifics. While frustrating, it also makes sense: We don’t know what we don’t know. Especially when we’re still handling the vaccine rollout.

Speaking of vaccines, Fauci said he’d like to see more than 2 million doses a day by the end of April, with more obviously being better. He mentioned the importance of community outreach, like mobile vaccine stations in underserved communities, and having more “vaccinators” (ie people who can literally administer vaccines) to speed the process up even more.

Fauci also commented on our latest milestone: Approaching 500,000 American lives lost to COVID-19. Fauci described this as a “terribly historic milestone in the history of this country” and noted he believes people will learn about this pandemic, and our country’s response to it, for generations to come. That’s almost certainly true, and if nothing else, means that not sugarcoating the actions of the government (or, for that matter, corporations) is especially important. Donald Trump likely won’t enjoy what history has to say about him, and that’s exactly how it should be.

You can check out part of the interview as discussed in this article below.

YouTube Video

And a longer stretch of the same interview below.

YouTube Video

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