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Keep that mask on: Fauci says face coverings could be needed even in 2022, as he defines new ‘normality’

Appearing on CNN, Fauci was asked on Sunday to define the “normality” he and President Joe Biden have promised towards the end of this year as more and more people are vaccinated. Pressed specifically as to whether masks would be an everyday part of life next year, Fauci declared himself open to the possibility. 

“It is possible that that’s the case,” he said, “and it depends on what you mean by normality.”

Fauci added that, while he couldn’t “predict” whether the US would have a return to the type of “normality” experienced before the pandemic hit, he predicted the fall and winter of 2021 would be the time when many of the measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus would be eased back, thanks to the vaccine program. 

“I think 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,” he said. 

As for mask-wearing, Fauci said he was not “comfortable” advising that the US should ease mandates until “the overwhelming majority in the population are vaccinated.”

Like many of his statements on the likely future course of the pandemic, Fauci’s comments set off a wave of anger on social media, with critics accusing him of shifting the “goalposts” and redefining “normal.”

“When this man talks, everything should be understood in the context that 2020 was the best year of Fauci’s life. ‘Normality’ to him means the show is over,” journalist Jordan Schachtel tweeted in reaction to Sunday’s interview.

“I’m starting to wonder if we’ll ever get back to normal at this rate. The goalposts always keep shifting,” the Daily Caller’s David Hookstead added. 

“I’m sorry, Fauci, but ‘hurry up and get vaccinated so that we can return to some degree of normalcy in 8-10 months maybe’ is not going to cut it,” Tablet Magazine editor Noah Blum wrote. 

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