NIH Director Calls Out Politicization of Masks During Pandemic: You Could Argue ‘Tens of Thousands of People Died as a Result’


Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, called out the politicization of mask-wearing in a new interview.

Masks have been a common-sense mitigation effort during the pandemic the last year, and back in July, Collins remarked upon how “bizarre” it was that such a basic piece of public health guidance would morph into a political issue.

In a new interview with Axios, Collins got more candid as he said, “To the extent that we start to substitute our hopes, beliefs, feelings for scientific results, then we start to get into trouble.”

Nicholas Johnston directly asked Collins if misinformation “made the pandemic worse.”

The NIH director responded by pointing to anti-mask sentiment in particular:

“The evidence was pretty compelling by last March or April that uniform wearing of masks would reduce transmission of this disease. A mask is nothing more than a life-saving medical device, and yet it got categorized in all sorts of other ways that were not factual, not scientific, and frankly dangerous. And I think you could make a case that tens of thousands of people died as a result.”

As of this posting, the United States has now officially marked the grim milestone of 500,000 covid deaths.

You can watch Collins’ remarks above, via Axios.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac