Fauci: I Wear a Mask to Be a Symbol of What ‘You Should Be Doing’

Wednesday on CNN’s “Newsroom,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci said he wanted to be a “symbol” for Americans to wear face masks in public amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Fauci said, “I think we should be recommending it. As you know, I wear it whenever I’m outside. We can try and keep the usual distance, but sometimes it is out of your control. So there are some fundamental things that we can do, we’re very aware of and sensitive to the need to try and make those steps towards reopening. But there are certain things that you can do and still do as you reopen. One is wearing a mask. The other is avoiding crowds of more than ten people, depending upon where you are and where the dynamics of the outbreak are. The other is continuing to wash your hands, which is important. And those kinds of things are simple. They’re easy to do. I think one can do that at the same time as you gradually try to get to the point of doing the reopening. I think those are the things that everybody should seriously consider doing.”

Anchor Jim Sciutto asked, “Do you think when folks, members of the public are being asked to do this, and they look at folks like you doing it, does that encourage its use to a positive degree?”

Fauci said, “No, it does, Jim. I wear it for the reason that I believe it is effective. It is not 100% effective. I mean, its sort of respect for the another person and have that other person respect you. You wear a mask. They wear a mask, you protect each other. I do it when I’m in the public for the reasons that, A, I want to protect myself and protect others. Also, because I want to make it be a symbol for people to see, that’s the kind of thing you should be doing.”

He added, “When I walk around the street and the neighborhood where I live in Washington, D.C., which still has a considerable number of infections, it is very clear that many people are doing that.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.