PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Will we ever be able to take off our masks? The answer is probably by Spring 2022.

That’s according to Dr. Chunhei Chi from Oregon State University, a professor of global health. Dr. Chi has been tracking the coronavirus and the government’s response to it from the start.

He said the masks can come off if more people get vaccinated and continued strides are made in treatments for those who contract COVID. Even then, the immunocompromised might want to keep wearing masks.

Because nothing is for certain as we continue dealing with the evolving virus, Chi says policymakers might not be inclined to rush any big changes, such as doing away with the mask mandate.

Although the virus itself may never go away, Chi says what will end is the pandemic. COVID-19 will eventually lower to more flu-like behavior — but we aren’t there yet.