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Scott Gottlieb, the Trump administration's former FDA commissioner, told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that he thinks local governments will need to mandate face masks for the general public as infections surge in a number of states, arguing that they're "losing precious time."

Why it matters: With significant community spread in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona, some sort of mitigation is necessary in order to stop the outbreaks from tipping into "exponential growth" in the next week, Gottlieb said. And unlike in March and April, states are no longer going to be willing to shut down parts of the economy.

  • California, one of the states that has seen a spike in infections, issued a statewide order requiring people to wear face coverings in public last week.

Between the lines: Facial coverings have become part of a political and cultural debate, with few people seen donning masks at the Trump rally in Tulsa on Saturday night. Gottlieb dismissed the idea that masks should be a partisan issue, calling it a "collective action we can all take to help protect our fellow citizens."

  • "It's something that we can do, collectively, to try to reduce the spread. It's really all we have, and it's not a very robust tool at that. But it's a tool that we have and it's a tool that's been demonstrated to have an impact if everyone does it, or most people do it," Gottlieb said.

Flashback: Opponents of masks have pointed to public health guidance at the very start of the pandemic that did not advise individuals to wear facial coverings, leading conflicting messages.

  • Anthony Fauci has explained this by noting that health officials were concerned about potential mask shortages, and Gottlieb added that health officials were worried that "by telling people they could wear a mask, you're telling them they could go out."
  • "I think that could have been messaged appropriately ... We should have been recommending masks from the outset," he noted.

Go deeper

Fauci: Some of what Fox News reports about COVID-19 is "outlandish"

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told CNN Monday that "some of the things" Fox News reports about the coronavirus "are outlandish."

What he's saying: "If you listen to Fox News, with all due respect to the fact that they do have some good reporters, some of the things that they report there are outlandish, to be honest with you," Fauci said in speaking about misinformation surrounding the coronavirus.

Sep 29, 2020 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans won't take Trump's word on vaccine

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey; Note: Margin of error for the total sample is ±3.2%; Chart: Axios Visuals

Barely two in 10 Americans would take a first-generation coronavirus vaccine if President Trump told them it was safe — one of several new measures of his sinking credibility in the latest wave of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Details: Given eight scenarios and asked how likely they were to try the vaccine in each case, respondents said they'd be most inclined if their doctor vouched for its safety (62%), followed by insurance covering the full cost (56%) or the FDA saying it's safe (54%).

Sep 28, 2020 - Health

Trump announces plan to distribute 150 million rapid coronavirus tests

President Trump announced on Monday that the federal government will distribute 150 million rapid, point-of-care coronavirus tests to states over the next few weeks, including to K-12 schools and vulnerable communities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Why it matters: The Trump administration has stressed the importance of reopening schools in allowing parents to return to work and jumpstarting the economy.