Dr. Anthony Fauci stressed in an interview with CBS News' "60 Minutes" Sunday that it is time to put to rest, "once and for all," any controversy over face coverings and to state categorically that masks are an effective way to prevent infection of the coronavirus.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for the past 36 years, recommended against wearing masks, in part because there would be a shortage of surgical masks for healthcare workers.
However, the following month, he changed his mind, saying masks could help halt transmission of the virus, especially since it became apparent that people without symptoms were a significant source of spread.
Fauci said that, without a doubt, "analysis studies show that, contrary to what we thought, masks really do work in preventing infection."
Fauci said that "when you find out you're wrong, it's a manifestation of your honesty to say, 'Hey, I was wrong. I did subsequent experiments and now it's this way.'"
The doctor added that he was stunned and "ticked off" that the Trump campaign earlier this month released a television ad featuring what appears to be a glowing remark from Fauci on President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fauci said his words were taken out of context, stressing that "I do not and nor will I ever, publicly endorse any political candidate. And here I am, they're sticking me right in the middle of a campaign ad. Which I thought was outrageous."