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Dr. Anthony Fauci said there needs to be more “consistent, correct wearing of masks” if the U.S. is to get the coronavirus strain Covid-19 under control.

In an interview Monday with the editor of JAMA, Fauci said states seeing a spike in Covid-19 cases don’t necessarily need to shut down as they did in March and April, but they do need to intensify their efforts to encourage their citizens to wear masks or other face-coverings as a key to reducing the spread of the virus.

Fauci said he was pleased that President Trump has been wearing a mask more in public. “We need more of that consistency,” Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Dr. Howard Bauchner, editor of JAMA during the interview, which was live Monday afternoon.

Fauci’s comments come as the number of cases of Covid-19 in the U.S. average 50,000 to 60,000 a day with deaths near 1,000 a day on average. Those cases, however, need to be less than 20,000 a day, Fauci told the JAMA editor, particularly as fall approaches and Americans will be indoors more.  

“You don’t have to revert all the way back to closing,” Fauci said. “You may need to pause. You may need to drop back a little bit.”

Among the key things Fauci said states need to promote are: wearing of masks; avoiding crowds; encourage social distancing of at least six feet; staying away from places like bars where people congregate; and improve hand-washing.

States that have opened up their economies but are now seeing a rise in Covid-19 cases may need to close bars while encouraging their residents to avoid crowds and conduct functions or events outside rather than inside to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

 “Outdoor is always better than indoor if you want to do a function,” Fauci said.

The wearing of masks or other face coverings to curb the spread of Covid-19 has wide support by scientists, U.S. health officials and practically every major professional medical group in the United States. Already this summer, the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and American Nurses Association pleaded with Americans to wear a mask and practice social distancing to stop the surge of Covid-19 cases.

And Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control said last month universal nationwide use of face masks could bring the spread of Covid-19 under control within four to eight weeks.

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