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Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

What he's saying: The infectious disease expert said in September that a national mask mandate "probably would not work," citing difficulties with enforcement.

He again noted to CNN on Friday that "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."

  • Fauci added that the U.S. must "double down" on measures like mask-wearing and social distancing as the country heads into the cooler winter months.
  • "They sounds very simple. But we're not uniformly doing that and that's one of the reasons we're seeing these surges," Fauci said.

The big picture: Former VP Joe Biden has called for a national mask mandate, saying such a measure is needed to save tens of thousands of lives.

  • Trump, on the other hand, has rarely worn a mask in public and often downplayed the usefulness of face coverings.

Go deeper: Universal mask use could save 130,000 lives in U.S.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
22 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

24 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.

Nov 25, 2020 - Health

In photos: Americans embark on Thanksgiving air travel

Los Angeles international Airport on Nov. 25. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Many Americans chose to travel by plane ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Why it matters: The CDC advised Americans on Nov. 19 not to travel for Thanksgiving, and that doing so may increase the chance of contracting and spreading COVID-19. The U.S. is currently seeing the most coronavirus cases and the greatest strain on hospitals since the start of the pandemic.