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Anthony FauciKevin Dietsch-Pool / Getty Images

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July 31, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Americans should add eye protection to their new facewear loadout when going out in public, the Trump administration’s controversial COVID-19 adviser said Wednesday in an interview.

“If you have goggles or an eye shield, you should use it,” National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton this week. “You have mucosa in the nose, mucosa in the mouth, but you also have mucosa in the eye. Theoretically, you should protect all the mucosal surfaces.” He acknowledged the eyewear was not formally recommended yet, but gave it his strong personal recommendation.

Fauci also suggested that masking should morph from a temporary emergency measure to a permanent seasonal practice: “It is inevitable that we're going to have some degree of flu. I'm hoping that the wearing of masks and other coverings are going to not only protect us against COVID-19, but also help protect us against influenza.”

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx echoed Fauci’s endorsement of face shields the next day in an interview with Fox & Friends, arguing that whereas the mask is to protect others from what the wearer expels, a face shield “would decrease the ability for them to touch their eyes and spread the virus as well as those droplets coming towards them.” She also attempted to put a “fun” spin on face shields, stressing that “you can decorate them.”

The past month has seen an explosion of both private businesses and state governments requiring individuals to wear masks in public spaces, with a few localities going so far as to encourage residents to report neighbors for noncompliance or even mandate masks in private homes, despite the fact that the science is less certain than many pundits and politicians are.

A “pooled (so-called ‘meta-’) analysis of 10 controlled trials assessing extended, real-world, non-health-care-setting mask usage revealed that masking did not reduce the rate of laboratory-proven infections with the respiratory virus influenza,” Dr. Andrew Bostom of Brown University wrote. “The findings from this unique report — published May 2020 by the CDC’s own ‘house journal’ ‘Emerging Infectious Diseases’ — are directly germane to the question of masking to prevent COVID-19 infection and merit some elaboration.”

Accordingly, Fauci and Birx’s latest advice is not sitting well with conservatives skeptical of the broader lockdown regime:

“Worrying about others wearing a mask is like worrying about others wearing a seatbelt or condom,” wrote Breitbart’s John Nolte. “But here we are, turning into a fascist country under the premise of safety. And here’s Fraud Fauci preparing us to become timid and afraid, preparing us to be scared to leave our home during the sniffle season, preparing us to do anything the government demands for our own good.”

Nolte pointed out that Fauci has changed his tune dramatically since March, when declared that “people should not be walking around with masks,” because “it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And often there are unintended consequences: people keep fiddling with their mask and they keep touching their face.”

Nolte added that he himself does wear a mask, and has done so since before Fauci supported them, but only because his wife’s medical situation makes her especially at risk. “If it was just me, I’d be hoping to catch the corona just to get it over with,” he said.