Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert and member of the White House coronavirus task force, said that attending a protest is “risky,” and suggests those attending to wear face masks and wash their hands often. 

“You know, it’s a danger to the people who are trying to control the demonstration,” Fauci told ABC News’s Powerhouse Politics” podcast Friday. “And it’s a danger to the people who are demonstrating. So at the end of the day, it is a risky procedure.”

“If you’re going to be in a situation where — beyond your control there’s a lot of people around you — make sure you wear a mask,” he added. 

Fauci has previously expressed concern about protests, telling ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday he isn’t surprised that members of the Washington, D.C., National Guard who mobilized in response to the protests had tested positive for the disease, but he called the development “disturbing.”

President Trump also announced this Wednesday that he will hold an indoor rally next week in Oklahoma, the first since most of the country shut down to contain the spread of the pandemic.

The Trump campaign will require attendees to sign a waiver before attending. 

On Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a guidance that “strongly encourages” masks in settings “where individuals might raise their voice” for shouting, chanting or singing.

Fauci said Friday that the same advice he is giving protesters is applicable at the president’s rallies: “I am consistent. I stick by what I say.”

The public health expert told ABC News that although the White House task force, which at one point was present at daily White House press briefings, meets less frequently with the president, he still has routine meetings with public health officials. 

“We have not thrown in the towel,” Fauci said.

“My message is for people to please hang in there. We will get through this. This will end. It will end with a combination of public health measures and ultimately science coming in and getting durable solutions such as treatments and vaccines,” he added.  

Fauci echoed statements from other public health and Trump administration officials in saying that a vaccine will likely be available by the end of the year. 

He said that he is more hesitant of a vaccine being produced from China than the U.S. or Europe. 

“I know from experience that the material that has come out of there has been material that has not been first rate,” he said. “I don’t have the confidence [in China’s government] that I have in our own regulatory authorities or in the European regulatory authorities.”

Tags Anthony Fauci COVID-19 Donald Trump George Floyd protests Trump rallies

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