Travelers with face masks wait for public transportation services at the International Airport in Los Angeles, California, the United States, on Feb. 1, 2021. (Xinhua)
Americans may still need to wear masks in 2022 to protect against the coronavirus, said Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, on Sunday.
Fauci said even as the United States may reach "a significant degree of normality" by the end of this year, Americans will still need to wear masks next year.
His comments came as the COVID-19 death toll in the United States is approaching 500,000.
Fauci stressed the importance of mitigation measures to fight the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and its emerging variants.
The country is ramping up its vaccine rollout, which has been hindered by power outages amid the ongoing winter storms in much of the country.
Fauci hoped high school students, far fewer of whom have gone back to classrooms compared with younger children, would be eligible for vaccination in the fall.
Vaccinations for younger children, however, "likely will not be before the beginning of the first quarter of 2022," Fauci said.