- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday that he was frustrated by the lack of masks worn by attendees at President Donald Trump’s campaign events.
- At the president’s campaign events, which resumed at the end of June, attendees are not required to wear masks and are often photographed without practicing proper physical distancing measures.
- For months, health experts have said masks are a useful way to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, but the president’s actions and rhetoric concerning them has been inconsistent since the outset of the pandemic.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading coronavirus official, said Wednesday that he is frustrated by the lack of face masks worn by attendees of President Donald Trump’s campaign events.
“The president continues to hold massive rallies where people are not wearing masks, including the president himself,” “CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King said to Fauci during an interview on Wednesday. “When you see that, what do you think? Is it frustrating to you as an expert on this?”
“Well, yes it is, and I’ve said that often,” Fauci said. “We want to set an example because we know when you do four or five typical kinds of public health measures: masks, physical distance, avoiding crowds, making sure you do most things outdoors versus indoors.”
He continued: “Those are the kinds of things that turn around surges and also prevent us from getting us surges. So, I certainly would like to see a universal wearing of masks.”
As Business Insider previously reported, the president’s guidance on masks has not been consistent. While he initially refused to publicly wear one in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was first was seen wearing one in July and later that month suggested wearing one was “patriotic.”
—CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) September 9, 2020
Trump hasn’t required masks at his events, even though public health experts recommend them
But in the time that has followed, Trump’s actions have been less consistent. As noted by King on “CBS This Morning,” facial coverings are not required to be worn at the president’s in-person campaign events.
The president isn’t regularly seen wearing a mask at White House press conferences or at his campaign events. At a press briefing on Monday, Trump clashed with a reporter over his refusal to remove his face mask when he asked him a question.
More than 1,500 people attended the president’s White House speech on the final night of the Republican National Convention last month, and many attendees were photographed tightly packed together, without face masks. Masks similarly weren’t required at the president’s Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, nor at his June 20 campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
At a Tuesday campaign event in North Carolina, Trump bragged about disregarding coronavirus restrictions to hold the event, mocking Democrats for supporting COVID-19 prevention and mitigation measures.
Health experts, like Fauci, for months, have said that the widespread adoption of face masks would be helpful in combating the spread of the novel coronavirus, especially in situations where physical distancing measures are not possible.
Fauci, meanwhile, who was a visible member of the president’s coronavirus task force earlier in the pandemic, has in recent months been excluded from at least one White House decision and been criticized by Trump, who has called him an “alarmist.”