When asked what he would do differently if he could go back in time to the beginning of the pandemic, White House coronavirus advisor Anthony Fauci said that he would recommend "much, much more stringent restrictions" from the get-go.
"If I knew in 2020 what I know now, we would do a lot differently," said Fauci in an interview on Monday. "The insidious nature of spread in the community would have been much more of an alarm, and there would have been much, much more stringent restrictions in the sense of very, very heavy encouragement of people to wear masks, physical distancing, what have you."
Fauci made these remarks during an interview on Rising, the news show I co-host for The Hill. When asked about the return of mask mandates in various parts of the country, Fauci conceded that the cloth masks that most people were required to wear indoors throughout the pandemic do not substantially prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
"Right now, we are very, very clear that masks do work in prevention of acquisition and transmission," said Fauci. "But you've got to get a well-fitted mask that is of a high quality. And the two we know are high quality are N95 and KN95."
Fauci also disputed the term "gain of function" in a conversation about whether it is necessary for the U.S. government to fund the kind of research that many experts worry might have produced—or might one day produce—a pandemic on the level of COVID-19. Watch the full interview here.