Dr. Anthony Fauci may have come around on the idea of a national mask mandate to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The top White House expert, who in recent weeks has downplayed the notion that the U.S. may need a national requirement calling on people to wear masks, appeared to show a measure of support for the approach during a CNN appearance on Friday.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has said that these laws could work on a local level and encouraged people to use facial coverings, but had said that the idea of a nationwide rule requiring them was not feasible.
But as the number of infections continues to rise, and experts predict the upward trajectory to continue through the fall and winter months, Fauci said the time may have come.
“Well, if people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it,” Fauci told Erin Burnett during an appearance on Friday evening.
Fauci admitted that it would still be difficult logistically, but believed Americans could pull it off if everyone came together and understood the importance of the simple step to slow the spread of the virus.
“There’s going to be a difficulty enforcing it, but if everyone agrees that this is something that’s important and they mandate it and everybody pulls together and says, you know, we’re going to mandate it but let’s just do it, I think that would be a great idea to have everybody do it uniformly,” he said.
Experts have said that wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to slow transmission of the coronavirus, and that widespread adoption could lead to a sharp reduction in cases and deaths.
As The Inquisitr reported, a new study suggested that widespread wearing of facial coverings could prevent 100,000 deaths between now and February. Transmissions are expected to rise sharply in the colder months, when many activities move indoors and social distancing becomes more difficult.
With no nationwide rule on masks, there has instead been a series of different rules on local and state levels. Some states have mandated that residents wear them whenever they are in public or social distancing is not possible, while some other states have resisted and left the decision on whether to wear them up to the individual residents.
The topic has become politicized as well, with President Donald Trump initially pushing back and saying he would not choose to use a mask, though he has advocated for it more frequently in recent weeks.