- CVS Chief Executive Officer Karen Lynch says masks may be need until at least next year.
- Lynch says US is on its way to meeting goal of vaccinating 300 million Americans by end of summer.
- Fauci said Americans may still be wearing masks next year, depending on vaccination and case levels.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Face masks will likely to be the norm until at least 2022, CVS Health CEO Karen Lynch said during DealBook DC Policy Project conference Tuesday.
Lynch said she hopes masks aren’t a household item forever, but added that they’ll likely be needed until at least next year to protect the country against the continued COVID-19 pandemic.
“For the health and safety of the nation, I think it’s important for us to really think about wearing masks until this is behind us,” said Lynch, who began her role as CEO earlier this month. She added that getting everyone vaccinated and further studies on whether those vaccinated can still carry and spread the virus are important to lifting mask rules.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said last week it’s possible Americans may still need to wear masks next year, depending on whether a majority of the country is vaccinated and whether COVID-19 cases are at “very low” levels. In the early days of his administration, Biden ramped up his vaccination ambitions and purchased enough vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna to vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of the summer.
CVS is one of the retail partners that has worked with the federal government in getting shots in the arms of elderly Americans at long-term care facilities and now in vaccinating the general population. In the Tuesday interview, Lynch said, “We are well on our way to accomplishing what the president has asked, to get 300 million Americans done… And I’m hopeful that we will get there.”
So far, 13% of the population, or 44 million people, have received at least one shot of the two-dose vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This week, less than a year after the pandemic took hold in the US, the country passed 500,000 deaths related to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 hospitalizations have reached their lowest level since November, with some giving credit to the vaccine rollout. Still, experts have recommended continued facemask use and social-distancing measures to keep the the number of hospitalizations declining.