Dr. Robert Redfield urged people to wear masks with the promise that the pandemic could be brought under control in just six weeks if everyone wore a mask.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said on Monday that "the most powerful weapon we have" against the novel coronavirus is wearing face coverings, washing hands, and "being smart about social distancing." Speaking at a press conference in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Redfield urged people to wear masks with the promise that the pandemic could be brought under control in just six weeks if everyone wore a mask. "If all of us would put on a face-covering now for the next four weeks, six weeks, we could drive this epidemic to the ground," he said, reports PEOPLE.
NEW: "I think if we can get everybody to wear a mask right now, I really do think over the next four to six, eight weeks, we can bring this epidemic under control," CDC Director Robert Redfield says. https://t.co/yHnzWjAMck— ABC News (@ABC) July 14, 2020
Redfield emphasized the importance of wearing masks by pointing out that it has been scientifically proven to make a difference in reducing the spread of COVID-19. "We are not defenseless against this virus. We actually have one of the most powerful weapons you could ask for," he said. "The most powerful weapon we have that I know of is wearing face coverings. The most important thing that I could ask the American public to do is to fully embrace face coverings, to fully embrace careful hand hygiene, and to fully embrace social distancing."
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield: “If all of us would put on a face covering now for the next 4-6 weeks, we could drive this epidemic to the ground.” pic.twitter.com/VCxLtn7lMB— The Recount (@therecount) July 13, 2020
According to ABC News, the 69-year-old reiterated his message on Tuesday during an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association's Dr. Howard Bauchner. "If we all rigorously did this, we could really bring this outbreak back to where it needs to be," he said. "I really do believe if the American public all embraced masking now and we really did it, you know, rigorously ... I think if we can get everybody to wear a mask right now, I really do think over the next four to six, eight weeks, we can bring this epidemic under control."
Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler says the "message coming out of Washington is harmful," as Texas faces a critical moment in battling coronavirus.— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) July 13, 2020
"There needs to be a very clear message that masks are mandatory and have to be worn."https://t.co/7288CxX8oF pic.twitter.com/ASjQbqgIUP
The CDC director stressed that wearing a mask is a "personal responsibility" for everyone as it is "not a political issue -- it is a public health issue." Redfield also praised President Donald Trump for wearing a face mask for the first time in public over the weekend, saying: "I'm glad to see the President wear a mask this week and the vice president. We need them to set the example." Meanwhile, speaking of the upcoming fall and winter—when flu season begins—he expressed concern about the co-occurrence of COVID and influenza.
CDC Director Robert Redfield: “I do think the fall and the winter of 2020 and 2021 are going to be probably one of the most difficult times that we experienced in American public health.” pic.twitter.com/8LLnbXxpHW— The Recount (@therecount) July 14, 2020
"I do think the fall and the winter of 2020 and 2021 are going to be probably one of the most difficult times... in American public health because of... the co-occurrence of COVID and influenza," he said. Redfield went on to stress the importance of getting the flu vaccine amid the pandemic "because I think those two respiratory pathogens hitting this at the same time do have the potential to stress our health system."
"CDC is prepared to work with any school district or school to work through our guidance so that they can come up with their own unique plan to reopen."— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 7, 2020
More from @CDCDirector Dr. Robert Redfield: pic.twitter.com/q4kj1QYxd0
Meanwhile, according to WCNC, during his visit to Mecklenburg County on Monday, Redfield supported the decision to send children back to school this fall. "Seven million children in this nation get their mental health assistance in school. Many students get their breakfast and lunch in school," he said. "Schools are really important for mandatory reporting of child abuse or sexual abuse. Obviously, the socialization that occurs in schools." Redfield said that the Novel Coronavirus has caused few deaths in children and that ensuring the safety of teachers who may be vulnerable is key to reopening schools.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said the key to opening schools is masks, saying “the data is really clear — they work.” https://t.co/iir5kEpW4N— CNN (@CNN) July 14, 2020
"My analysis of this on the public health scale is way in favor of reopening schools face to face and these kids can get the education they deserve," he said. Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris backed Redfield's assessment, citing the wellbeing of children as the reason for sending them back to classrooms. "I'm totally in support of what Dr. Redfield has just said. We are concerned about the health and welfare of our children who don't go back to school. I do believe there's real reason for them to be in school," said Harris, adding that the community will need to step up to make this possible.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis says that “we’ve epically failed children in at least three ways,” by not controlling the spread of Covid-19, closing schools abruptly without preparing for distance learning and then not being prepared to reopen them. pic.twitter.com/twaH2UpSdA— CNN (@CNN) July 15, 2020
"We need everyone to help us get our children back in school, whether you have children or not," he said. "Again, we want to appeal to our community to do the things you know you need to do. Wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing."