NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if “people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it.”
Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.
What he’s saying: The infectious disease expert said in September that a national mask mandate “probably would not work,” citing difficulties with enforcement.
He again noted to CNN on Friday that “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.”
- Fauci added that the U.S. must “double down” on measures like mask-wearing and social distancing as the country heads into the cooler winter months.
- “They sounds very simple. But we’re not uniformly doing that and that’s one of the reasons we’re seeing these surges,” Fauci said.
The big picture: Former VP Joe Biden has called for a national mask mandate, saying such a measure is needed to save tens of thousands of lives.
- Trump, on the other hand, has rarely worn a mask in public and often downplayed the usefulness of face coverings.
Go deeper: Universal mask use could save 130,000 lives in U.S.