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White House looking into broader use of masks

Dr. Anthony Fauci said the task force first wants to make sure that such a move wouldn’t take away from the supply of masks available to health care workers.

White House Coronavirus Task Force Holds Daily Briefing
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump listens during the daily coronavirus briefing at the Rose Garden of the White House on March 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. The United States has updated its guidelines to U.S. citizens to maintain current social distancing practices through the end of April after the number of reported coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths doubled to over 2,000 nationwide within two days.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci said the White House coronavirus task force is looking into the idea of recommending broader, community-wide use of masks to deter the spread of the new coronavirus.

Fauci said the task force first wants to make sure that such a move wouldn’t take away from the supply of masks available to health care workers.

“But once we get in a situation where we have enough masks, I believe there will be some very serious consideration about more broadening this recommendation of using masks,” Fauci said in a CNN interview Tuesday. “We’re not there yet, but I think we’re close to coming to some determination.”

He said wearing a mask may prevent an infected person from spreading the virus.

Fauci is the director National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leader of the U.S. response to the pandemic.

President Donald Trump said Monday he could see broader use of masks on a temporary basis.

“I mean, you know, we want our country back. We’re not going to be wearing masks forever, but it could be for a short period of time,” Trump said.

The World Health Organization on Monday reiterated its advice that the general population doesn’t need to wear masks unless they’re sick. Since the epidemic began in China, the WHO has said masks are for the sick and people caring for them.