National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins referred to a face mask Sunday as a “life-saving medical device.”
Collins spoke with “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace about the rapidly-spreading delta variant and the risk it poses to children. He also discussed mask mandates in school classrooms. (RELATED: ‘Why Were We Waved Off?’: Martha MacCallum Presses NIH Director On Lab Leak Theory)
Wallace began by noting that a number of states had imposed bans on mask mandates for schools and asked Collins to address the issue.
“How strong is the case that children in school should wear masks as a mitigation against delta?” Wallace asked.
“Chris, it’s very strong,” Collins replied, saying that the CDC website had shared publications and evidence showing that where schools had already opened without mask mandates, outbreaks had already begun to take hold.
“Outbreaks are happening and what happens then? The kids are sent home for virtual learning, which is what we were trying to avoid,” Collins continued.
Collins then held a face mask and said, “This mask that I’m holding has somehow become a symbol that it never should have been. This is basically just a life-saving medical device and somehow it’s now being seen as an invasion of your personal liberty. We never should have gone there.”
“It’s heartbreaking for me as a person who’s not a politician, I’m a scientist,” Collins concluded. “I’m a public health person, I’m a doctor, to see how masks have gotten into this very strange place with parents and others shouting about it. We never should have allowed that to happen.”