“I want to protect myself and protect others, and also because I want to make it be a symbol for people to see that that’s the kind of thing you should be doing,” Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on “Newsroom.”
Fauci said he believes that while wearing a mask is not “100% effective,” it is a valuable safeguard and shows “respect for another person.”
The wearing of masks while out in public has emerged as a politically charged issue as Trump has called for a return to pre-pandemic life in the hopes of revitalizing the US economy. He has repeatedly declined opportunities to wear a mask in public, telling reporters at a Ford plant in Michigan last week that he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it,” though he did wear a mask while touring parts of the plant.
This week, Trump shared a tweet that mocked former Vice President Joe Biden for wearing a mask Monday at a Memorial Day ceremony, prompting the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee to call Trump “an absolute fool.”
As part of his calls to return to normalcy, Trump has called for schools to quickly reopen nationwide and for a packed Republican convention in August, going so far as to recently threaten to pull it out of North Carolina unless the Democratic governor can “guarantee” that the arena can be filled to capacity.
Fauci suggested Wednesday to “reserve judgment” about whether political conventions could be held in-person with large crowds gathered in a confined space and to wait to see a “really significant diminution” in the number of new cases and hospitalizations.
“I think we need to reserve judgment right now because we’re still a few months from there. Hopefully we will see that diminution. If we don’t, then as I’ve said before, I would have significant reservations about that,” Fauci said.
Asked if it’s safe for schools to reopen with safety restrictions, Fauci said there needs to “judgment according to the situation on the ground” and that “we can’t say that one size fits all.”
This story is breaking and will be updated.