Reports about several potential COVID-19 vaccines offer hope for the end of the global health crisis. However, we could still be wearing face masks and implementing guidelines including social distancing for at least another year, according to experts.
The major factor will be how fast a novel coronavirus vaccine could be administered.
Will We Be Wearing Face Masks Forever?
For many countries, wearing a face mask was a cultural norm long before the coronavirus pandemic, but in some places, they have had to adapt to wearing them in public spaces. Cloth face coverings are effective in diminishing the prevalence of the virus for both the wearer and people around them.
According to Brian Castrucci, the president of the de Beaumont Foundation, a public health nonprofit organization, "the face mask is the condom of our generation." Castrucci recalled when the HIV epidemic made condoms mainstream in the United States, reported The Atlantic.
Face masks may be more protective than a vaccine, according to Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We have clear scientific evidence they work, and they are our best defense. I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine," reported Yahoo.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the man millions turn to for pandemic wisdom, in an address to the medical community at Thomas Jefferson University, weighed in on how long we will be using face masks.
He remarked if the vaccine is 70% effective, and if some people prefer not to take it, many months will elapse prior to reaching herd immunity. "You're not going to have a profound degree of herd immunity for a considerable period of time, maybe toward the end of 2021, into 2022, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Fauci added, "It's not going to be the way it was with polio and measles, where you get a vaccine, case closed, it's done." He said public health guidelines would be the ones to linger.
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), confirmed that face masks are currently our best bet at controlling the pandemic.
A number of experts suspect that face masks may be just as reliable or more as a vaccine when it comes to mitigating the prevalence of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, stated that the nation would likely have to wear masks for the next couple of years. Social distancing will also be reoccurring in our lives.
Dr. Colleen Kraft, associate chief medical officer at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, remarked that while the vaccine might be available to the majority of the population within a year, COVID-19 would need to diminish its spread before wearing face masks could stop.