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Dr. Fauci Has This Message for Face Mask Non-Believers

“If you look at the scientific data, the masks clearly work.”

On a day in which worldwide COVIDImagine -19 deaths passed the one million mark, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, discussed media and the coronavirus with CNN's Brian Stelter, during which he shared some sage comments about why he tells people to now wear a face mask.  Read on to learn why they're so important for you, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci Said, Once and For All, Face Masks Work

"If you look at the scientific data, the masks clearly work. I mean, they are part of a multifaceted approach of—masks, keeping distance, avoiding crowds, washing hands, doing things outdoors, much more than indoors. All of that is a combination of prevention modalities that are easy to do relatively speaking. And you can accomplish some of the things that you want to about opening up the economy and you can actually do that in a prudent and careful way."

He explained why he originally said masks were not necessary, back last winter.

"It's very disconcerting, because it's very clear with—whoever does these things doesn't not appreciate is that science, accumulates, evidence and data, and at any given moment, when you're having an evolving situation, like COVID-19, which clearly is evolving in a very rapid way, you make a recommendation or you make a policy based on the information that you have at a particular time, such as early on in the outbreak in February and March," he said. "As you get further information, you have to be humble enough and flexible enough to make your statements and your policy and your recommendation based on the evidence that you now have, which may actually change some of the policy. And the typical example that I think you just were alluding to was the issue with masks that at a time, when it was clear that when people were running to get masks, that it wasn't enough masks for the people who were taking care of sick individuals, namely healthcare providers."

"So we were not recommending that people wear masks and then something else happened," he went on. "We learned that about 40 to 50% of the individuals who are infected or without symptoms. And then we learned that a substantial proportion of the transmissions occur from an asymptomatic person to an uninfected person. So when you put those two things together, when there was no longer a shortage of masks, it was clear that cloth coverings in many respects with just as good as surgical masks. And when it became clear that anyone could be infected, even someone without symptoms. So the idea of staying away from someone who has symptoms no longer held true, anyone could be infected even yourself without knowing it. So we went from not recommending masks to very, very strongly recommending masks. And that was based on evolving scientific knowledge, but some of the media who liked to make hay of that keeps saying, 'Oh, you keep changing your mind all the time, or you were incorrect.' Well, no, we were correct at the time that that statement was made. But when the scientific data made it clear that we had to change that recommendation, we did, but that's not the way it gets reported."

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How to Avoid COVID-19

All of that is Dr. Fauci's way of saying "you really got to try and be out there in a consistent message as often as you possibly can, because there is so much, I know, misinformation during this very divisive time that we're in and the public really needs to know the facts in going through this extraordinary experience that we're all going through." 

To that end, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek