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Chris Wallace directs the first presidential debate. Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor who moderated Tuesday's presidential debate, urged the network's viewers on Friday to "wear the damn mask."

Why it matters: Fox News, particularly the network's opinions hosts, has been accused of spreading coronavirus misinformation, which one study suggested may have kept millions of Americans from taking the pandemic seriously.

  • Wallace's comments on Friday also came after Trump announced that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus. Wallace said he was seated about 10 to 12 feet away from the president during the debate in Cleveland, Ohio.

What he's saying: Appearing on several Fox News programmes, Wallace urged the audience to listen to qualified scientists and condemned turning the issue political.

  • “If I could say one thing to all of the people out there watching: Forget the politics. This is a public safety health issue," Wallace said. "The president of the United States is in the most secure bubble in the world in the sense that everybody who comes in contact with him has to take a test, and he still got it. Wear the damn mask and follow the science."
  • Wallace also pointed out the lack of qualifications of one of Mr. Trump’s top medical advisers, Scott Atlas, who has regularly appeared on the network. “I’m going to say something and, folks, I’m just trying to give you the truth,” Wallace said. “Dr. Scott Atlas is not an epidemiologist, is not an infectious disease specialist — he has no training in this area at all," he added.
  • “Listen to people like Anthony Fauci, listen to people like Deborah Birx, who have been largely cut off. Listen to the independent people who do not have a political ax to grind, and I frankly don’t think Scott Atlas is one of those people.”
  • Wallace also said members of Trump’s family removed their masks once they entered the debate hall on Tuesday. “A health person of the Cleveland Clinic came up to the first family when they were seated and offered them masks in case they didn’t have them, and they were waved away,” he added.

Worth noting: Wallace is waiting until Monday to take a coronavirus test, per the recommendation of his doctors, the NY Times reported.

Go deeper

Jan 8, 2021 - Health

Biden to release nearly all available COVID-19 vaccine doses to the public

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden plans to release nearly all available coronavirus vaccine doses when he takes office, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Releasing nearly all doses would allow more people to get vaccinated with at least one dose. At the moment, the Trump administration is withholding half of U.S. vaccine production to ensure recipients receive their second dose, which is required by both the Moderna and Pfizer shots to ensure 95% efficacy.

Prosecutor: Fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. was "justified"

Khalil Ferebee (C), the son of Andrew Brown Jr., and attorneys Bakari Sellers (L) and Harry Daniel (R) at a May 11 news conference in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A North Carolina prosecutor said Tuesday that the death of Andrew Brown Jr., a Black man fatally shot by sheriff's deputies last month, was "tragic" but "justified," due to the immediate threat officers believed Brown posed.

Why it matters: The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into Brown's death. Police in Elizabeth City shot him five times, including in the back of his head, according to an independent autopsy report released by family attorneys last month.

McCarthy comes out against bipartisan deal on Jan. 6 commission

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will oppose a bipartisan deal announced last week that would form a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, his office announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: McCarthy's opposition to the deal, which was negotiated by the top Republican and Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, underscores the internal divisions that continue to plague the GOP in the wake of Jan. 6.