This will be an interesting cultural touchpoint. On the one hand, I can see people throwing their masks back on when flu season hits. On the other hand, I see a lot of people who are just DONE with the whole thing and view masks as a symbol of oppression. As long as people are putting on a mask (or not) at their own discretion and not by order of the government, I’m indifferent.
Sethi says for that reason, masks will be around for seasons to come, and will continue to be commonplace in health care settings.
Rates of respiratory illnesses like the flu and cold were significantly lower in 2020 than they had been pre-pandemic, and this evidence may necessitate masking, Sethi said, though physical distancing also helped reduce respiratory infections in 2020.
In some countries, it is common and socially acceptable to wear a mask when one has symptoms of respiratory illness. In the U.S., the long-term acceptance and use of masks will likely be mixed, but don’t be surprised if you see boxes of masks become more commonplace around the workplace or home settings, like a box of facial tissue or hand sanitizer, Sethi said.