No need to discourage your mom’s new mask-sewing hobby anytime soon. According to Anthony Fauci, we might be wearing protective face coverings into 2022 to defend ourselves from COVID-19

While on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday night, Fauci was asked if folks will continue to have to wear masks next year if we’re able to reach some kind of normality. 

“You know, I think it is possible that that’s the case and, again, it really depends on what you mean by normality,” he replied. 

Honestly, who is surprised? The U.S. just tragically passed 500,000 COVID-19 related deaths and counting. It’s also hard to imagine that any country could ever achieve “normality” when hundreds of thousands of people are no longer here for preventable reasons. 

Still as vaccines continue to be distributed, Fauci told CNN that by the end of 2021 “we’re going to have a significant degree of normality beyond the terrible burden that all of us have been through over the last year.”

But in order to get there, mitigation measures like mask wearing continue to be critical. The CDC still encourages everyone to wear a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially with more viral strains of the virus now circulating throughout the country.  

“It may or may not be precisely the way it was in November of 2019, but it’ll be much, much better than what we’re doing right now,” Fauci encouraged. “When it goes way down, and the overwhelming majority of the people in the population are vaccinated, then I would feel comfortable in saying, we need to pull back on the masks, we don’t need to have masks.”

Until then, wear a mask.