On April 13, Tucker Carlson remarked "if the vaccine is effect, there is no reason for people who have received the vaccine to wear masks or avoid physical contact. So maybe it doesn't work and they're simply not telling you that."
The next morning on CNN, Fauci struck back, maintaining Carlson's skepticism is "counter to the safety and health of the American public" and rhetorically asking "why would we not tell people if it doesn’t work?”
If the reports of the exchange are accurate, Fauci did not directly address the contradiction Carlson suggested, and that night he contended" like most Americans, we’re grateful for vaccines (and) we're not against it (vaccination) on principle."
Carlson then proceeded to question both the efficacy and safety of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Whether or not Carlson's skepticism is warranted, it is clear that Dr. Fauci is unclear on whether masks will be the norm once herd immunity against this virus strain is reached.
In late February CNN's Dana Bash (seen at 9:31 of the video below), drawing upon her education at the finest university in the USA, asked Dr. Fauci
You and the President have suggested that we'll approach normality by the end of the years. What does "normal" mean? Do you think that Americans will still be wearing masks for a while in 2022?
You know, I think it is possible that will be the case. I really think it depends on what you mean by normality.... If normality means exactly the way things were before we had this happen to us, I mean, I can't predict that. obviously, I think we're going to have a significant degree of normality beyond, what, the terrible burden that all of us have been through over the last year that as we get into the fall and the winter, by the end of the year, I agree with the President completely that we will be approaching a degree of normality. It may or may not be precisely the way it was in November of 2019 but it will be much, much better than what we are doing right now.
Fauci is laying the groundwork for an America that will look and feel much different that it did in 2019 but hoping that it does not feel that way to Americans.
He was noncommittal. Although the Administration touts at every opportunity the increasing number of people receiving one of the vaccines, Fauci would not even hold out a likelihood that in 2022- nine months from now and roughly 22 months before the danger of the coronavirus fully surfaced- that masks would be unnecessary. He did not say even that they'd be unnecessary unless a variant emerges as a significant peril.
Yet, he insists on predicting "a signifcant digree of normality" and a situation "much, much better than what we are doing right now."
“If the vaccine is effective," Carlson insisted, "there is no reason for people who have received the vaccine to wear masks." But Fauci- and President Biden- are reasonably confident of the vaccine's effectiveness. However, they anticipate that wearing a mask will prove (necessarily, in their minds) to be either a semi-permanent or recurring practice.
If the risk of contracting a coronavirus declines even minimally, Fauci and the President will not deter "reopening" of the economy. It's good for the bottom line and will help keep Republicans off their backs.
Restaurants, even bars, will get the green light because commerce will be encouraged. Patrons officially will be requred to keep their masks on except when eating or drinking, a condition few will comply with. Still, masks will be encouraged, perhaps even mandated, for offices, drugstores, supermarkets, home improvement stores, and the like.
Consequently, Dr. Fauci predicts a great deal of normalcy while he does not evince any concern for people wearing masks into the third year of a pandemic. Hence, there is the opaque phrase "may or may not be precisely the way it was in November of 2019." With support of the President, he is setting people up for accepting a lifestyle that will include masks while business and pleasure proceed apace.
If this p;ans out, ultimately there will be a backlash from individuals mad as hell and not willing to take it anymore. While Anthony Fauci's disposition is sunny (or at least pleasing) his hazy forecast is for clouds with a better than 50% chance of heavy rain.