A 60 Minutes interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes of Infections, is gaining traction on social media with many pointing out his advice at the time is contradictory to the CDC’s current face mask recommendations.
In the March 8 interview, highlighted by podcast host Joe Rogan on Instagram, Fauci definitively says, “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.”
His comments, Rogan wrote, were evidence masks aren’t needed by individuals driving alone in their cars.
“Someone needs to send this to those dorks wearing masks while driving their cars,” Rogan captioned the video. “If THIS GUY says you don’t need it, you can trust him.”
During the interview, Fauci said, “Right now, in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks.”
“You’re sure? Because people are listening really closely to this,” the interviewer tells him.
“No, there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” Fauci answers.
“When you’re in the middle of an outbreak wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better, and it might even block a droplet but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is, and often there are unintended consequences – people keep fiddling with the masks and they’re touching their face.”
He went on to say masks should be reserved for medical professionals and infected individuals.
The NIAID head’s comments came nearly two months after the US Surgeon General advised the public not to wear masks, only to reverse his decision after the CDC released its own recommendations:
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!
They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
The surgeon general changed his tune a little over a month later:
There remains scant evidence wearing a mask- especially improperly- provides much benefit to a healthy wearer.
However emerging data suggests facial coverings may prevent asymptomatic disease transmission to others.
We always follow and react to the data – @CDCgov is studying
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) April 2, 2020
Yet, despite the White House’s own chief immunologist admitting masks are essentially ineffective, on Monday media outlets claimed White House staff will be required to wear masks inside the building following reports of people in the West Wing testing positive for the virus.
President Trump has stated he will likely not wear a face mask.