Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday spun Dr. Anthony Fauci’s comments about face mask effectiveness into a breathless warning that Americans are “never taking off the mask.” (Watch the video below.)
During an interview on Sunday with Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press,” the infectious disease expert said face masks have proven so effective at controlling the spread of viruses that “we’ve had practically a nonexistent flu season this year.” In the future, he said, it was “conceivable” that “during certain seasonal periods when you have respiratory-borne viruses like the flu, people might elect to wear masks to diminish the likelihood that you’ll spread these respiratory-borne diseases.”
Carlson, who has championed former President Donald Trump’s attacks on Fauci and has been hyping conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccines, twisted Fauci’s remark into a right-wing fever dream.
“A year or two or more from now,” Carlson said, partially quoting Fauci. “In other words, never. You’re never taking off the mask. Get ready for a lifetime of filthy wet cotton covering your mouth, reduced oxygen flow to your brain, and a world where every stranger looks the same because no one has a face.”
Fauci, in a weekend interview on ABC, emphasized that indoor mask guidelines were likely to be eased further as more people get vaccinated. Carlson must have missed that.
“When Kamala Harris and her husband kissed the other day while wearing masks, they were giving you a preview of your daughter’s wedding,” Carlson said.
“Tony Fauci is punishing the country.”
Watch if you can stomach it:
A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus
Do your vaccine side effects predict how you’d react to COVID-19?
“I’ve been sick from COVID-19 for almost a year.”
Should children go to camp this summer?
These are the most common ways the COVID-19 pandemic has affected mental health.
Find all that and more on our coronavirus hub page.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.