‘Normality means show over’: Fauci says masks in 2022 ‘possible’ in vague take on ‘normal’

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Biden administration’s chief medical adviser and the country’s top immunologist, is being accused of trying to remain relevant as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes by making vague predictions about the virus’s continued impact.

Fauci, who has spent nearly a year in the limelight as the pandemic spread around the country and led to economy-crushing lockdowns, school closures, and hundreds of thousands of deaths, continues to remain coy about when conditions in the U.S. will return to their pre-COVID norms.

In an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Fauci first responded to a question about whether he was prepared to visit family since he’s received his COVID vaccine before going on to tell co-host Dana Bash Americans may have to wear masks into 2022.

“Right now, not yet. Not yet,” Fauci said regarding family visits. “I mean, I would look forward to it within a reasonable period of time.”

 

Fauci went on to say that his wife has received her first of two vaccines and that when his kids do, that might be a time to get together again.

“I’m sure by that time recommendations will come out to guide us in a more precise way,” he added.

Moving on, Bash said that both Fauci and President Joe Biden have noted they believe the country would return to “normal” by the end of 2021 before asking the immunologist what normal looks like. 

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

“You know, I think that it is possible that’s the case. And again, it really depends on what you mean by normality —“ Fauci began, as Dash interrupted.

“Right, that’s why I want you to define it,” she pressed.

“If normality means exactly the way things were before we had this happen to us, I mean, I can’t predict that,” Fauci stammered. “But I think, obviously that we’re going to have a significant degree of normality beyond the terrible burden that all of us have been through he last year, that as we get into the fall and winter by the end of the year, I agree with the president completely that we will be approaching a degree of normality.

“It may or may not be precisely the way it was in November of 2019, but it’ll much, much better than what we’re doing right now,” Fauci added.

But to her credit, Bash pressed on, asking Fauci why it may still be deemed necessary to continue wearing masks into 2022.

Struggling for words, Fauci explained that it would depend on the “dynamics of virus that’s in the community,” adding that he wants to see virus levels “so low” that there is only a “minimal, minimal threat” that anyone will be exposed to the virus.

He went on to say that if most Americans get vaccinated and the level of virus is reduced to a minimum, “then I believe you’re gonna be able to say, for the most part, you know, we don’t necessarily have to wear masks.”

However, even at 20,000 cases a day — which is far lower than at the pandemic’s peak  — is “still very high level of virus in the community.”

Fauci’s ambiguity was criticized online by investigative journalist Jordan Schachtel. 

“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,” he wrote on Twitter.

Others ripped Fauci as well.

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Jon Dougherty

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