Due to social distancing, shoppers wear protective masks as they wait in line outside Gucci as South Coast Plaza reopens, requiring customers maintain a social distance and wear face masks at South Coast Plaza Thursday, June 11, 2020 in Costa Mesa, CA.
Allen J. Schaben | Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
The United States could get the coronavirus pandemic under control in one to two months if every American wore a mask, a top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official said Tuesday.
“The time is now,” Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said during an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Dr. Howard Bauchner. “I think if we could get everybody to wear a mask right now I think in four, six, eight weeks we could bring this epidemic under control.”
Both the CDC and the World Health Organization now recommend that people wear masks as a way to slow the spread of the virus, which has infected more than 13 million people worldwide and killed at least 574,600 as of Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Scientists say the virus can spread through respiratory droplets that pass when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Studies suggest the masks may serve as a helpful barrier to spreading infection.
Earlier in the day, the CDC released a new study that said state leaders should consider requiring face coverings to reduce the spread of the virus. The study looked at two Missouri hair stylists who were infected with Covid-19 but didn’t pass it on to their clients.
Last week, President Donald Trump criticized Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, and other federal health officials for not advising the broader public to wear masks earlier in the outbreak.
During an interview Thursday with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Trump said, “Dr. Fauci’s a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes.
“They’ve been wrong about a lot of things, including face masks,” he said. “Maybe they’re wrong, maybe not. A lot of them said don’t wear a mask, don’t wear a mask. Now they’re saying wear a mask. A lot of mistakes were made, a lot of mistakes.”
On Saturday, Trump wore a mask in public for the first time while visiting Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.