Anthony Fauci Tells Governors And Mayors To ‘Be As Forceful As Possible’ To Make People Wear Masks

People wear masks as they distribute food.
Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci said that governors and mayors should do what it takes to get people in their states and cities to wear masks.

Speaking at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases said that local leaders should “be as forceful as possible” in getting people to wear facial coverings. Public health experts have said that wearing masks is one of the most effective means of slowing the spread of the coronavirus, and a number of governors have put statewide orders in place for residents.

As CNN reported, Fauci said that the re-opening of the economy and the end to closures of non-essential businesses made mask wearing that much more important.

“When you’re living your life and trying to open up the country, you are going to come into contact with people. And for that reason, we know that masks are really important, and we should be using them everywhere,” Fauci said.

Fauci went on to add that while he respects the “spirit of independence” in the country, he said people need to understand how important it is to wear a mask and said he would “urge the leaders — the local political and other leaders — in states and cities and towns to be as forceful as possible in getting your citizenry to wear masks.”

Fauci’s statement comes during a growing debate on who holds the authority to mandate that citizens wear masks. As CNN reported, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp this week issued an order invalidating all local mask orders and said he is filing a lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms claiming that her city’s mask mandate violates his emergency orders.

“This lawsuit is on behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times. These men and women are doing their very best to put food on the table for their families while local elected officials shutter businesses and undermine economic growth,” Kemp tweeted.

Bottoms, who herself tested positive for coronavirus and has been in quarantine inside her home, said that she would not back down. She noted in an interview with CBS This Morning that a number of other local orders have been in place mandating that residents wear masks, but Kemp did not move to strike them down until President Donald Trump visited Atlanta and she pointed out that he had violated the city’s order by not wearing a facial covering.