The country’s top infectious disease expert on Wednesday urged the public to comply with mask-wearing requirements as the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions trickles across the country in coming weeks.
When asked during an interview on CNN whether public servants wearing masks sets an example for the public, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that he thinks “we certainly should be recommending it.”
Fauci pointed out that he wears a mask whenever he’s outside and practices social distancing, before arguing the need to continue said “fundamental things” as states begin taking steps towards reopening.
After reiterating the importance of continuing “simple” practices to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 — which include wearing a mask, avoiding crowds of more than 10 people and hand-washing — Fauci added that he thinks the public can “seriously consider” complying with those precautions as coronavirus-related restrictions are gradually lifted.
Fauci went on to say that he wears masks in public because although it’s “not 100% effective,” he views the practice as “sort of respect for another person and have that other person respect you.”
“You wear a mask, they wear a mask, you protect each other,” Fauci said. “I do it when I’m in the public for the reasons that I want to protect myself and protect others, and also because I want to make it be a symbol for people to see that’s the kind of thing you should be doing.”
Fauci’s latest remarks come as President Trump demonstrates repeated reluctance to wear a mask in public. Earlier this week, the President retweeted a post by Fox News commentator Brit Hume mocking former Vice President for wearing a mask during a Memorial Day ceremony. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended Trump’s retweet during a briefing on Tuesday by making the bizarre argument that it is “a bit peculiar” that Biden has not worn a mask during recent virtual appearances with his wife that have been recorded in his basement.
Despite Trump’s refusal to wear a mask in public, prominent Republicans such as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and even Fox News host Sean Hannity have issued emotional pleas urging people to wear masks in public.
Watch Fauci’s remarks below:
Fauci on masks: "I want to make it be a symbol for people to see that's the kind of thing you should be doing." pic.twitter.com/P5NHF8CC1I
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) May 27, 2020