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How long will you have to wear masks for COVID-19? It’s longer than you think

COVID-19 masks could be here for the near future

Tiberio Barros wears a face mask on a TRAX train at the Salt Lake Central Station in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The Utah Transit Authority now requires face masks be worn in order to ride public transit in compliance with the Salt Lake County health order.
Tiberio Barros wears a face mask on a TRAX train at the Salt Lake Central Station in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The Utah Transit Authority now requires face masks be worn in order to ride public transit in compliance with the Salt Lake County health order.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Experts seem to agree that people in the United States will have to wear masks to protect themselves from COVID-19 for the next several years.

What’s going on:

  • Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said on CNET’s Hacking the Apocalypse series that the country will likely have to wear masks for the next several years. Social distancing might play a role in our lives, too.
  • Toner said: “I think that mask wearing and some degree of social distancing, we will be living with — hopefully living with happily — for several years. It’s actually pretty straightforward. If we cover our faces, and both you and anyone you’re interacting with are wearing a mask, the risk of transmission goes way down.”
  • Toner said those who refuse to mask will eventually change their mind, too.
  • “They will get over it. It’s just a question of how many people get sick and die before they get over it.”

He’s not alone

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top official who has been working with the U.S. government on the country’s COVID-19 response, said there could be a vaccine in 2021, indicating that the masks will be around for the next few months, according to the New York Post.
  • Fauci said: “There is no guarantee — and anyone who has been involved in vaccinations will tell you — we’ll have a safe and effective vaccine, but we are cautiously optimistic, looking at animal data and the preliminary data, that we will at least know the extent of the efficacy sometime in the winter and early part of next year.”