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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J) on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday called for a national face mask mandate to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends but does not require people to wear masks in public — despite recent spikes in new coronavirus cases around the United States.

  • Without a national mandate, many states, including New Jersey, have moved to require face masks in public.

Be smart: Scientific evidence shows that wearing face masks can help prevent the spread of the virus, but distrust in public health advice has forced a partisan dispute about face masks.

What he's saying: Murphy said the country needs a national strategy, and that "masking has got to be at the core of that."

MURPHY: "Listen, this thing is lethal. New Jersey's paid an enormous price. We've lost over 13,000 confirmed fatalities from COVID-19. We're starting to see a — small spikes in reinfection from folks coming back from places like Myrtle Beach and as well as in Florida, other hotspots. To me, it says we need a national strategy. We're only as strong as our weakest link right now. As you mentioned in the, in the outset of the program, I said, 'We went through hell. We cannot afford to go through hell again.' We need a national strategy. I think right now masking has got to be at the core of that."
ANDREA MITCHELL: "And do you think that there should be a national mask requirement?"
MURPHY: "I do. I do, Andrea. It's become almost not even debatable. Certainly when you're going out and absolutely indoors. As I’ve mentioned, this virus is a lot more lethal inside than outside, but if you're leaving your house, put on a mask. I think it ought to be a national requirement."

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: WHO says Omicron poses "very high" risk — Fauci says Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S. — U.S. restricts air travel from 8 countries over Omicron concerns.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns."
  3. States: New York declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron.
  4. World: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating worldWHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries — First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Mark Meadows refuses to wear mask while talking to reporters in Capitol

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows refused to speak to reporters outside Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearing on Monday after they requested that he keep his face mask on.

Why it matters: Meadows has been working out of the White House, which has become a hotspot for the coronavirus over the past two weeks.

Updated Oct 12, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Fauci says it would be "outrageous" if Trump campaign used him in another ad

Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious diseases expert, told CNN on Monday that the Trump campaign should stop airing an ad that uses comments he made without his permission and out of context.

Why it matters: Fauci describes himself as apolitical and says he has never endorsed a political candidate in five decades of public service. He later told The Daily Beast there's "not a chance" that he would resign if the Trump campaign continued to feature him, but added, "By doing this against my will, they are in effect harassing me."

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