“We are in such a divisive state in society that it tends to get politicized,” the country’s leading infectious disease expert said Monday night on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”
“It’s almost the one side versus the other,” Fauci said.
“People take sides, like wearing a mask or not is a political statement and that’s really unfortunate, totally unfortunate because this is a purely public health issue. It should not be one against the other,” Fauci said.
“It’s extremely confusing,” Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst and emergency physician at George Washington University, told CNN. “And that type of whiplash — especially without an explanation directly from the CDC — creates confusion and unfortunately leads to lack of trust in the CDC overall.”
That confusion comes at a time many states’ Covid-19 trends are heading in the wrong direction and as the US inches closer toward 200,000 lives lost to the virus.
How confusion could contribute to spike
“It’s happening because we’re forcing schools to reopen in areas of high transmission,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. “We’re forcing colleges to reopen, and we don’t have the leadership nationally, telling people to wear masks and to social distance and do all the things we need to do.”
Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, says there are several factors that could be contributing to the rise in numbers — including the public’s fatigue of pandemic-like conditions.
“And then the second thing is … the completely contradictory messages that we’re getting — not just the misinformation, but also the confusion about how things are spread.”
More than 4,000 students and school staff infected in Texas
A rise in cases also comes after many students across the country returned to class — both in schools and colleges.
Colleges and universities across all 50 states have reported infections — prompting local leaders to set new measures in place in hopes of controlling the spread of the virus on college campuses and in college towns.
Infections have increased among younger students as well — and those around them.
More than 2,300 of those cases are students.
CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman, Holly Yan, Madeline Holcombe and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.