Dr. Anthony Fauci, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, is continuing to encourage masking despite a major study showing that masks did not work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During an interview with CNN, Fauci indicated he is “concerned that people will not abide by recommendations” to mask as COVID-19 cases are reportedly increasing in the United States.
“We’re not talking about mandates or forcing anybody—but when you have a situation where the volume of cases in society gets to a reasonably high level…those who are elderly and those with underlying conditions are going to be more susceptible and vulnerable, if they get infected, to get severe disease leading to hospitalization,” Dr Fauci told Michael Smerconish on CNN.
Fauci told Smerconish that he hopes people will wear masks and “abide by the recommendation” if rising COVID-19 cases leads the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations to recommended masks.
Smerconish then asked Fauci about a study published by the Cochrane Library that questioned the effectiveness of masks, specifically with regard to The New York Times opinion piece, “The Mask Mandates Did Nothing. Will Any Lessons Be Learned?”
The New York Times opinion piece includes a quote by Oxford epidemiologist Tom Jefferson, which states, “There is just no evidence that [masks] make any difference. Full stop.” The Cochrane Library study concluded, “The pooled results of [randomized control trials] did not show a clear reduction in respiratory viral infection with the use of medical/surgical masks.”
Despite the study’s conclusion, Fauci insisted that masks are effective. “Different studies give different percentages of advantage of wearing it,” he told Smerconish, “But there’s no doubt that the weight of the studies, and there have been many studies, indicate the benefit of wearing masks.”
Fauci added that while the “data are less strong” regarding the effectiveness of masks for the pandemic “as a whole,” he claimed that masks are still effective on “an individual basis of someone protecting themselves or protecting themselves from spreading it to others.”