In 2019, White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci dismissed mask wearing as a way to prevent a virus from spreading, saying Americans should “avoid all the paranoid aspects” and focus on healthy lifestyles.
Fauci also said he washes his hands “six, seven, eight, nine times a day.”
Fauci made his comments during an interview on the The David Rubenstein Show.
The wide-ranging interview was broadcast almost a year before the COVID-19 global pandemic began, airing on May 22, 2019.
Rubenstein and Fauci covered topics ranging from whether or not to get the flu vaccine – Fauci says yes – to social distancing.
Rubenstein asks Fauci about the best ways to protect against infectious diseases, and what Fauci said might surprise you.
“And the best way to prevent me from getting an infectious disease and having to have you as my doctor is what? Wearing a mask…” Rubinstein asked Fauci.
Fauci quickly dismissed the question, saying, “No, no, no.”
Then Fauci laughed.
“I don’t need to do that?” Rubenstein asked. “If somebody’s, I can see they’re getting ready to sneeze or cough, walk away?”
Fauci replied with answers that sound very unlike Fauci in 2021.
“You avoid all the paranoid aspects and do something positive,” Fauci said.
Fauci then laid out what he believes people need to do to stay healthy – keeping in mind this interview was filmed during “normal” times.
The doctor said, “A. Good diet. B. You don’t smoke, I know. Get good sleep. I think the normal, low tech healthy things are the best things you can do, David, to stay healthy,” Fauci said.
Fauci has dismissed masks in the past, even as the pandemic began.
RELATED: Dr. Fauci Warns Of New COVID Variant
Fauci told 60 Minutes in March 2020, “Right now, people should not be walking, there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.”
“When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is,” Fauci said.
Fauci also worried that wearing masks would produce “People keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face.”
Fauci and the CDC now recommend mask wearing, even for the fully vaccinated in some circumstances.
The CDC’s website says everyone aged two and older who isn’t vaccinated should wear a mask indoors, and the fully vaccinated should wear masks indoors in areas of high transmission.
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