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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

Updated 23 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Highlights from Biden and Harris' first joint interview since the election

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down with CNN on Thursday for their first joint interview since the election.

The big picture: In the hour-long segment, the twosome laid out plans for responding to the pandemic, jump-starting the economy and managing the transition of power, among other priorities.

Romney: Trump's lack of leadership on COVID-19 is "a great human tragedy"

Sen. Mitt Romney and President Trump. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

GOP Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) told CNN Thursday that President Trump's lack of leadership during the coronavirus pandemic is "a great human tragedy."

Driving the news: Trump has largely stayed silent on the country's worsening pandemic in recent weeks, even as the U.S. experienced a record daily death toll and hospitalizations surpassed 100,000 for the first time. Instead, the president has focused much of his public commentary on pushing baseless claims of widespread election fraud.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.