“There should be universal wearing of masks,” Fauci said on ABC’s “World News Tonight” on Monday when asked about reopening schools.
“There should be the extent possible social distancing, avoiding crowds. Outdoors [is] always better than indoors and [you should] be in a situation where you continually have the capability of washing your hands and cleaning up with sanitizers,” he said.
“When I see sights like that, it is disturbing to me,” added Fauci, 79, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force.
The top infectious disease doctor was referring to the image shared by North Paulding High School sophomore Hannah Watters, who was suspended briefly for violating school policies. On Friday, she tweeted that the school had rescinded the suspension amid a public outcry.
Nine people — six students and three faculty members — have since tested positive for the coronavirus, the school in Dallas, Georgia, informed parents on Saturday.
The school was closed as a result of the infections and the district announced it would move learning online for Monday and Tuesday.
Fauci recommended “a comprehensive way to really avoid the things” the image captured, including the lack of face coverings and social distancing in enclosed quarters.
While conceding that mask-wearing rules will be decided at the local level, he insisted the “universal wearing of masks is one of five or six things that are very important in preventing the upsurge in infection and in turning around the infections that we are seeing surge.”