Story at a glance
- Fauci said he wears a mask because he wants to protect himself and others from the coronavirus.
- He said he believes wearing a mask is effective in limiting the spread of the virus.
- The issue has become highly political, as President Trump has refused to wear a mask publicly.
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, on Wednesday urged Americans to wear face coverings in public to help limit the spread of the coronavirus, an issue that has become politically charged as President Trump has largely declined to wear a mask publicly.
“I wear it for the reason that I believe that it is effective. It’s not 100 percent effective. It’s sort of respect for another person and to have that other person respect you. You wear a mask, they wear a mask, you protect each other,” Fauci told CNN’s Jim Sciutto Wednesday.
“I want to protect myself and protect others, and also because I want to make it a symbol for people to see that that’s the kind of thing you should be doing,” Fauci said.
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Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges people to wear masks or cloth face coverings when they are in public areas and unable to keep 6 feet of distance from others in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected nearly 1.6 million people in the U.S. and killed almost 100,000.
Fauci’s comments are somewhat at odds with the president’s decision to defy the CDC’s guidance on masks. Trump has argued that because he is regularly tested, he isn’t concerned about spreading the virus to others.
On Monday, the president shared a tweet from Fox News political analyst Brite Hume that appeared to mock Joe Biden for wearing a mask in public during a Memorial Day ceremony.
The tweet included a photo of Biden wearing a mask and read, “This might help explain why Trump doesn’t like to wear a mask in public.”
During a Rose Garden event Tuesday, Trump was asked about the retweet, in which he denied criticizing the former vice president.
“Biden can wear a mask, but he was standing outside with his wife, perfect conditions, perfect weather. They’re inside, they don’t wear masks,” Trump said.
“And so I thought it was very unusual that he had it on. But I thought that was fine. I wasn’t criticizing him at all. Why would I do a thing like that?” Trump added.
Biden in response Tuesday, called the president a “fool” and accused him of “stoking deaths” for refusing to wear a mask.
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