Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, on Thursday conjured an out-of-this-world vision to express his puzzlement at people who don’t wear face masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
Collins, during a CNN town hall on the pandemic, was asked by medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta to comment on scenes like the one earlier that day at President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Freeland, Michigan, where most of the president’s fans were not social distancing or covering their faces.
“It just deeply puzzles me, Sanjay. How did we get here?” asked Collins, the director of the NIH since 2009.
“Imagine you were an alien who landed on planet Earth and you saw that our planet was afflicted by an infectious disease and that masks were an effective way to prevent the spread,” Collins continued. “And yet when you went around, you saw some people not wearing them, some people wearing them, and you tried to figure out why and it turned out it was their political party.”
Collins suggested an extraterrestrial would “think this is just not a planet that has much promise for the future if something that is so straightforward can somehow get twisted into decision-making that really makes no sense.”
“So, as a scientist, I’m pretty puzzled and rather disheartened,” he added.
Trump has mostly discouraged wearing masks, turning it into a politicized issue for his supporters. Many pride themselves on ignoring guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to wear face masks “in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
The president has rarely worn a mask in public. He ridicules reporters for wearing masks and last week mocked Democratic candidate Joe Biden for doing so, claiming a psychiatrist would say his 2020 rival has “some big issues.”
Check out Collins’ comments here:
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