Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden claimed Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, contradicted the President’s stance on mask usage by suggesting widespread mask wearing could save 100,000 lives between now and January.
“By the way, his own CDC Director contradicted him recently. He said, if, in fact, you just wore this mask, nothing else but this mask, you would save between now and January another 100,000 lives,” Biden said.
Facts First: While Redfield did advocate for wearing masks to stop the spread of coronavirus in a congressional hearing Wednesday, and Trump did later say that Redfield misspoke, CNN could not find any record of Redfield providing these specific numbers concerning the number of lives that could be saved by mask-wearing.
Testifying before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Redfield said, “I’m not going to comment directly about the President but I am going to comment as the CDC Director that facemasks, these face masks, are the most important, powerful public health tool we have.”
“I will continue to appeal for all Americans, all individuals in our country, to embrace these face coverings,” Redfield added. “I’ve said it, if we did it for six, 8, 10, 12 weeks, we’d bring this pandemic under control.”
He made headlines for further saying, “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take the Covid vaccine.
Reached for comment, the Biden campaign pointed CNN to the latest forecast from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). As of early September, the IHME model predicts 224,000 more people in the US could die from the coronavirus by January, but with near-universal mask use the number of projected additional fatalities could decrease by more than half, or at least 100,000.
CNN has reached out to the CDC for comment.