White House: People won't have to 'wear a mask all the time' if 'we make progress' fighting COVID

President Biden delivers remarks on the nation’s fight against COVID-19

The White House said Tuesday that people won’t have to wear masks “all the time” as soon as “we make progress” fighting COVID-19.

A senior administration official told Fox News that the future “will look better” after more people are vaccinated and therapeutics are made more available, adding that the goal is for people to learn how to “live with the virus” without it taking such a toll on their lives.

President Biden walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House Dec. 17, 2021 in Washington, D.C. 
( Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“We realized in the press when people say we have to live with this virus, you think, ‘Oh my God, it’s gonna be as bad as it is right now.’ Absolutely not,” the official said. “We live with other respiratory viruses with a cold for example, and we don’t shut down society because of the common cold, right? We can knock down the severity and frequency of COVID-19 [and] we can get on with our lives.”

The official’s comments came ahead of President Biden’s speech Tuesday afternoon, in which he was expected to announce a multipronged approach to tackling the pandemic amid the spread of the omicron variant, including providing more support to hospitals, access to free testing and adding more vaccination sites and vaccinators.

City residents wait in a line extending around the block to receive free at-home rapid COVID-19 test kits in Philadelphia, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021. 
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The official said the administration is expecting a significant rise in cases this winter, including among the vaccinated, because omicron spreads easily, but that vaccinated people will likely have mild symptoms or none at all.

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