Former White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed concern over the weekend that Americans would not abide by new masking recommendations even as he acknowledged evidence against masks’ effectiveness for shielding against COVID.

Citing a “surge of cases” and spike in hospitalizations of up to 19%, Fauci told CNN’s Michael Smerconish, “I would hope that if in fact we get to the point where the volume of cases is such that organizations like the CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention] recommend — CDC doesn’t mandate anything, I mean — recommends that people wear masks, I would hope that they abide by the recommendation and take into account the risk to themselves and to their families, and again, we’re not talking [about] forcing anybody to do anything.”

At one point in the interview, Smerconish asked Fauci about a New York Times article from February about what columnist Bret Stephens called the “most rigorous and comprehensive analysis of scientific studies conducted on the efficacy of masks for reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses – including COVID-19,” which quoted an Oxford epidemiologist as concluding that “[t]here is just no evidence that they make any difference. Full stop.”

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