Fauci says he’s 'concerned' Americans will reject mask mandates

He admitted that the data on masks stopping pandemic viral spread "are less strong." 

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

Speaking with CNN on Sunday, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci said he was "concerned" that Americans wouldn’t abide by new masking recommendations if the CDC were to return to the pandemic-era guidance.

Fauci told host Michael Smerconish that he was "concerned that people will not abide by recommendations" regarding masking.

Fauci said there appears to be a "surge of cases" occurring with an around 18-19 percent increase in hospitalizations, and that it is "Certainly going in the wrong direction."

"We’re not talking about mandates or forcing anybody, but when you have a situation where the volume of cases in society gets to a reasonably high level, particularly the vulnerable, those who are elderly and those with underlying conditions are going to be more susceptible and vulnerable."

"I would hope that if in fact we get to the point where the volume of cases is such that organizations like the CDC recommend — CDC doesn’t mandate anything, I mean. — recommends that people wear masks, I would hope that they abide by the recommendation and take into account the risk to themselves and to their families, and again, we’re not talking forcing anybody to do anything."

During the same interview, Smerconish asked Fauci to respond to a New York Times article where Oxford Senior Associate Tutor and epidemiologist Tom Jefferson said, "The most rigorous and comprehensive analysis of scientific studies conducted on the efficacy of masks for reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses - including COVID-19 - was published last month." The study concluded, "There is just no evidence that [masks] make any difference." 

The cited article noted that Jefferson said the type of mask "makes no difference." He noted that people who pushed initial mask guidance "were convinced by nonrandomized studies, flawed observational studies." 

Fauci said that there are studies that "show at an individual level, for individuals, they might be protective," but "when you're talking about the effect on the epidemic or the pandemic as a whole, the data are less strong." 

This comes as some schools and businesses across the country have reinstated mask mandates.

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