Coronavirus: Majority of Americans want a national mask mandate as Fauci backs one for the first time

Danielle Zoellner
<p>New poll finds 58 per cent of Americans support a nationwide mask mandate</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

New poll finds 58 per cent of Americans support a nationwide mask mandate

(AFP via Getty Images)

A majority of Americans want a national mask mandate in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a new poll has found.

When asked about enforcing a nation mask mandate in the United States, 58 per cent of Americans agreed that there should be one while 22 per cent disagreed, according to an exclusive Independent poll with JL Partners.

Additionally, there was a dividing line between supporters of Donald Trump, who thought a mask mandate should be enforced, with 39 per cent agreeing to one compared to 38 per cent who disagreed.

The findings of the poll, which surveyed 1,002 Americans from 26 October to 28 October, come as the nation’s top leading infectious disease expert expressed strong support in a national mask mandate.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNBC in a late interview on Wednesday evening that the US was trending in the wrong direction with coronavirus cases, and he thought a federal mask mandate might be the one initiative that could slow the spread.

"You know, yes," he said when asked if a national mandate is needed. "If we don’t get one, then I would hope that the governors and the mayors do it locally, if it’s not done nationally."

"This is going to get worse because we’re going more into a colder season, as we get through the fall and into the winter with the holiday season going, we’ve got to do something different. We can’t just let this happen," Dr Fauci added.

The current surge in coronavirus cases has brought the US total to more than 8.8 million Covid-19 infections, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. As of Thursday, the death toll stands at more than 227,000 deaths.

Four of the five highest number of cases reported in a single day since the start of the pandemic has happened in the last seven days, causing concern among health experts. Also, 41 states are reporting at least a 10 per cent increase in cases compared to the previous week.

Dr Fauci said the US “was not in a good place,” which has  encouraged him to publicly support a national mask mandate. But he acknowledged when speaking to CNBC that it would be unlikely under a Trump administration.

"You’re using the word 'mandating masks' — yes if that works, let’s do it. I don’t think it’s going to happen nationally," Dr Fauci said. "It may not come from the White House to do it and if it doesn’t, then I think that the mayors and the governors should do it."

Despite both hospitalisations and cases trending in the wrong direction, Mr Trump has claimed to his supporters during campaign rallies that the US is “rounding the turn” in the pandemic.

Experts warn that the US could start posting 100,000 new cases per day if nothing is done to stop the current surge. Hospitalisations, which are also currently on the rise, and the mortality rate could also surge.

Read more

Trump’s serially scandalous presidency in 9 charts

Sean Hannity rants about ‘coronavirus hysteria’ as Covid cases surge

Task force officials offended at White House claim Covid-19 has ended