The United States has surpassed 500,000 total deaths related to COVID-19, as we approach the one-year mark since the deadly virus was first discovered in the country. White House COVID-19 medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on CNN's State of the Union program, Sunday, to provide the latest updates on the pandemic.

Fauci, COVID-19
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"It's nothing like we've ever been through in the last 102 years since the 1918 influenza pandemic... It really is a terrible situation that we've been through - and that we're still going through," Fauci explained, regarding the severity of the pandemic.

The nation's top infectious disease official went on to estimate that mask usage could be commonplace through 2022, depending on how efficiently vaccines are administered.

"When the overwhelming majority of the people in the population are vaccinated, then I would feel comfortable in saying, you know, 'We need to pull back on the masks,'" Fauci said. "The better we do at getting vaccine into people's arms ... that will be another important tool against preventing spikes."

"We want to get that baseline really, really, really low before we start thinking that we're out of the woods," he added.

Congress is currently working to pass President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package.