Fauci tells Matthew McConaughey he backs ‘universal wearing of masks’

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, on Thursday told actor Matthew McConaughey in an Instagram interview that he thinks the U.S. “should have universal wearing of masks,” echoing the call from presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden for a nationwide mask mandate.

On Thursday, Biden called for a national mask mandate that calls for all Americans to wear a mask “when they’re outside for the next three months at a minimum.”

At one point during the interview with McConaughey, Fauci was asked if COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, which Fauci confirmed, leading to the Oscar-winning actor asking a follow-up on a possible mandatory national edict on the wearing of masks.

“You make a really good point that is the subject of a lot of debate,” Fauci responded. “My recommendation, as you probably know because I’ve said it publicly so many times, is that absolutely we should have universal wearing of masks.”

“The difficulty with mandates is that it tends to be a pushback about, ‘do you have to waste time enforcing it, or can you really use the power of persuasion from the leadership, everybody doing it, because it’s so important?’ And there’s a debate whether you get any extra mileage out of mandating it. Myself, personally, I would say everybody should have to use it,” he continued.

President Trump and a number of GOP governors have been resistant to ordering a mask mandate.

Trump on Thursday said during a White House press briefing that the “full weight” of the government shouldn’t be needed to force people to wear masks while adding he trusted “the American people and their governors very much.”

“We will continue to urge Americans to wear masks when they cannot socially distance,” Trump told reporters. “But we do not need to bring the full weight of the federal government down on law-abiding Americans to accomplish this goal.”

“All Americans must have their freedoms. I trust the American people and their governors very much,” the president added. “Joe doesn’t know too much.”

A July 26-27 Hill-HarrisX poll found that 82 percent of registered voters surveyed either strongly or somewhat support a national mask mandate, with just 18 percent of voters opposing the idea.

Tags Anthony Fauci Coronavirus Donald Trump Joe Biden mask mandates

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