• White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has infuriated some people with his newest coronavirus update, related to face masks.
  • Dr. Fauci said over the weekend he thinks Americans might be wearing face masks well into 2022.
  • That’s despite the fact that the US has seen improvement in some coronavirus metrics, and with the White House predicting “significant” normality by the end of this year.

If you opened Twitter over the weekend, there’s a good chance you saw plenty of people opining about, and many complaining, about the latest coronavirus update from White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci.

What got everyone talking is the forecast Dr. Fauci shared in a CNN interview on Sunday, regarding coronavirus face masks. Notwithstanding the improvements the US has been seeing in terms of a drop in the rate of new infections as well as hospitalizations, and with the pace of COVID vaccinations continuing to ramp up, Dr. Fauci nevertheless thinks it will still be quite a while before most people are no longer wearing face masks in public.

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Even though the White House has acknowledged the possibility that a “significant degree of normality” might return by the end of this year, the US was just shy of having recorded 500,000 coronavirus deaths as of Monday morning. That’s according to the latest data available from Johns Hopkins University, which also shows that the US has surpassed 28.1 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

That helps explain why Dr. Fauci responded to a question from CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday, about whether Americans might have to still wear face masks into next year, thus: “You know, I think it is possible that that’s the case and, again, it really depends on what you mean by normality.”

At the same time, he tempered that remark with a bit of optimism. Dr. Fauci said he also thinks that by the end of this year, “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.

“As we get into the fall and the winter, by the end of the year, I agree with (President Joe Biden) completely that we will be approaching a degree of normality.”

All that said, Dr. Fauci’s prediction touched off an unsurprising new wave of criticism against the doctor, some of which you can check out below:

In this tweet, FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver also seems to, if not outright criticize Dr. Fauci, then at least to encourage more definitive guidance about the future — about what people should expect post-vaccination, and so forth.

Face masks have certainly been at the forefront of the Biden administration’s response to the pandemic, with President Biden straightaway asking Americans to commit to wearing face masks during the first 100 days of his presidency. Biden also issued an executive order mandating that anyone traveling on public transport — which includes planes, buses, trains, and ferries — has to wear a face mask.

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Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.