Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted Sunday that mask-wearing could eventually become “seasonal” as protection against ailments like the flu that can also be spread through the air.
He said Americans over the course of the pandemic have gotten used to wearing face coverings, which “diminishes respiratory diseases.”
“We’ve had practically a non-existent flu season this year merely because people were doing the kinds of public health things that were directed predominantly against COVID-19,” Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
“So it is conceivable that as we go on, a year or two or more from now, that during certain seasonal periods when you have respiratory-borne viruses like the flu, people might actually elect to wear masks to diminish the likelihood that you’ll spread these respiratory-borne diseases,” Fauci continued.
He also predicted that we won’t see another surge in COVID-19 cases this fall if the majority of Americans get the vaccine.
“The fact that we have vaccines right now … is really a game changer,” Fauci said on NBC.
“I mean, if we get, which we will, to the goals that the president has established — namely if we get 70 percent of the people vaccinated by the Fourth of July, namely one single dose and even more thereafter — you may see blips, but if we handle them well, it is unlikely that you’ll see the kind of surge that we saw in the late fall and the early winter,” he said.
Experts have been warning that the country is in danger of not reaching herd immunity because of the decline in people getting inoculated.
“That’s the reason … why we plead with people to get vaccinated because the larger proportion of the population that’s vaccinated, the less likelihood that in a season like the coming fall or winter you’re going to see a significant surge,” Fauci said.
“That’s the wild card that we have now that we didn’t have last fall or the last winter.”
NBC News’ Chuck Todd asked about the drop off in people being vaccinated and how the Biden administration can convince the remainder to get a shot.
“I think it’s twofold, Chuck. One, you’ve got to get trusted messengers out there, getting people to understand why it’s important to get vaccinated for themselves, their family, and the community,” Fauci said.
“And different types of people, different phases in life have different trusted messages. It could be sports figures. It could be entertainment figures. It could be clergy or it could be your family doctor,” he added.
“The next thing is make it as easy as possible for people to get vaccinated, which we’re doing now with the 40,000 pharmacies where you don’t have to go online, you don’t have to call up. You can walk right in and get vaccinated,” Fauci said.