July 17, 2020 / 4:43 PM / a month ago

U.S. state, local leaders should be as forceful as possible on masks - Fauci

FILE PHOTO: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, adjusts his face mask during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on efforts to get back to work and school during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Washington, D.C., U.S. June 30, 2020. Al Drago/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Friday said state and local leaders should be as forceful as possible on wearing masks to prevent spreading the deadly coronavirus, as the state of Georgia and its major cities tussle over masks.

“I would urge the leaders -the local political leaders in states and cities and towns - to be as forceful as possible in getting your citizenry to wear masks,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with the Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Nonetheless, Fauci said he was cautiously optimistic that the country is on the road to getting the pandemic under control, noting that a promising candidate for a vaccine will go into an “advanced phase three trial by the end of this month.”

Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Makini Brice; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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