Anthony Fauci was roasted on social media after a CNN host confronted him with data showing that face masks made no positive impact during the coronavirus pandemic. However, the former White House chief medical adviser stuck to his guns and insisted masks were beneficial to some individuals.
“When you’re talking about the effect on the epidemic or the pandemic as a whole, the data are less strong,” he acknowledged.
One of the first to attack Fauci’s odd response was Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who said it was “absurd” to claim that masking would work for individuals but not for society. He called Fauci’s reaction “subterfuge.”
Former US intelligence official Cliff Sims chimed in and said it was clear that Fauci’s previous position on the topic was not held in good faith because he still “refuses to acknowledge obvious facts.”
Dr. Fauci’s view of masking changed throughout the course of the pandemic. He initially said they would make no difference to the virus’s spread, but later reviewed his advice and endorsed their use. In an interview in 2020, he told CBS reporter Norah O’Donnell that his initial position was based on a national shortage of masks, and he had no regrets about his recommendations.
After leaving the White House, Fauci became the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease director but retired last December. However, with a new coronavirus threat looming, he has once again spoken out and recommended masking. He said people should consider wearing face coverings as we enter the fall and winter.
Fauci emphasized that he does not urge masking mandates but hopes people will follow sensible medical recommendations. “I would hope that if, in fact, we get to the point where the volume of cases is such and organizations like the CDC recommend—the CDC doesn’t mandate anything—that people wear masks,” he said.
A new variant of the virus was reported in August, and infection figures are said to be rising.