News & Politics

Dr. Fauci Suggests a Federal Mask Mandate May Be Necessary

Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci says it might be necessary for Washington to impose a mask mandate on all 50 states, given the worrisome rise in coronavirus cases across the U.S. Fauci made the remarks during an interview on CNN.

Previously Fauci had opposed a federal mask mandate as unworkable and unenforceable.

CNN:

 Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been urging Americans to use masks for months. “I have trust in the American people that if we put a strong emphasis on the importance of wearing masks, that we will come around and do that and get that percentage up above the relatively low percentage of people that are using masks,” Fauci said on July 21 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

But he has said before that he doesn’t think a federal law would be the way to go.

Earlier this month, a poll found that 92 percent of Americans believe that wearing a mask is a good idea. But only about 60 percent wear one. Changing people’s minds about wearing a mask outdoors will be difficult as long as we’re getting mixed messages from public health professionals.

“I don’t like to be authoritarian from the federal government, but at the local level, if governors and others essentially mandate the use of masks when you have an outbreak, I think that would be very important,” Fauci told Alabama Sen. Doug Jones during a Facebook live event in July.

Until now.

“Well, if people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it,” Fauci told CNN’s Erin Burnett Friday.

The obvious difficulty in issuing a federal mask mandate is how to make it enforceable.  Maybe we could take a page from the Chinese secret police playbook. It worked for them.

Fauci admits difficulty in enforcement but thinks if we all join hands (virtually) and dance around the maypole as one, everybody will be eager to comply — or something.

“There’s going to be a difficulty enforcing it, but if everyone agrees that this is something that’s important and they mandate it and everybody pulls together and says, you know, we’re going to mandate it but let’s just do it, I think that would be a great idea to have everybody do it uniformly,” he said.

Mayors and governors across the country have had mask mandates in place for months and yet we’re seeing a massive surge in positive test results. Citizens are ignoring social distancing rules and congregating in large numbers. And police officers are refusing to enforce the rules largely because they’ve got better things to do. Issuing a ticket that people are going to ignore anyway will not scare people into wearing a mask when they’re supposed to.

We locked down the country for two months, drained trillions of dollars from the economy, destroyed jobs, industry, and lives for what purpose? The coronavirus has roared back after cities and states reopened even slightly. Chicago and New York City have been essentially locked down since March. Their business and entertainment districts are ghost towns. Thousands of companies have been shuttered permanently.

All for what?

If the definition of crazy is to do the same thing over and over expecting different results each time, our public health establishment, politicians, and bureaucrats are 100 percent, certifiably nuts.

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