- The Washington Times - Friday, July 24, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been advising President Trump’s coronavirus task force, came under scrutiny when a photo of him surfaced at a baseball game Thursday not wearing a mask, but sitting close to two people.

Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been encouraging the public to wear masks to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

He threw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals’ game on Thursday, but a photo of him in the stands with his wife and a friend caught the attention of some reporters. They were not socially distanced, and he had his mask pulled down.

Yasher Ali, a contributor to New York Magazine and Huffington Post, tweeted out the photo, saying the doctor should set a better example. He has since deleted his tweet.

But Dr. Fauci pushed back on the critics Friday on Fox News, saying he was dehydrated and was drinking water. He also noted he tested negative for the coronavirus hours before.

“I was drinking water trying to rehydrate myself,” Dr. Fauci said.

“I wear a mask all the time when I am outside,” he added. “If people want to make something about that they can, but to me, I think that is mischievous.”

Dr. Fauci also predicted there will be a vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of the year or early 2021.

He has come under scrutiny from critics that say Dr. Fauci has been wrong about the virus a number of times. At first, he said masks were not necessary and also suggested travel from China should not have been halted. Since then, he has reversed his position on both issues.

Mr. Trump has even described his adviser, Dr. Fauci, as “an alarmist.”

The president has been critical of masks, saying advisers first said they were not needed but now are saying they should be mandatory. He has since said he will wear one in public when he cannot socially distance after coming under scrutiny by the media for not setting an example for Americans.

Many localities are mandating masks be worn in public — even outside, not just indoors. Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser implemented her strict mask mandate earlier this week, only allowing for minor exemptions such as children under 2 years old and people engaging in exercise outdoors.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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