Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. chief infectious disease expert, said he was “strongly committed” to local masking mandates to help control the spread of the coronavirus.
“When you look at what we can do to know it works, it’s the use of masks, physical distance and avoiding crowds,” Fauci told a news conference Tuesday with Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat in Alabama.
“And I think to the extent that it would be acceptable in the community I would strongly advocate for a mandate. I don’t like an authoritarian federal government, but at the local level, if governors and others give a mandate to use masks when you have an epidemic, I think it would it was important, “said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
As of Monday, 35 states, plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico, have established a certain type of mask requirement as coronavirus cases increase in parts of the United States. Hospitals are almost in some areas, including Florida and Texas.
Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus working group, said he would like to see consistency in the use of face wraps to slow the spread of the deadly virus.
“Individual mandates, wherever they come from, I think are important, because when people get a signal that you can or don’t want to wear a mask, which means it can be, but it doesn’t have to be helpful, it’s a very confusing signal,” he said.
“So if you say it doesn’t matter if you put it on or remove it, you’re sending the wrong, mixed signal. The signal should be: Wear a mask. Period.”