FDA commissioner on why wearing a cloth face covering in public 'might be helpful' to combat coronavirus

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn appeared on "Watters' World" Saturday and addressed the issue of wearing a mask or a "cloth facial covering," as he preferred to call it, to combat the coronavirus.

"So, when this outbreak started, the big question was could masks in the normal happenstance of the world -- not in the medical care settings you're describing, but just walking down the street, could a mask help prevent a person from getting the disease?" Hahn told host Jesse Watters.

"And there really aren't good data or evidence to suggest that's the case for routine use. But what's happened is we've learned more about this illness [in] that there are a fair number of people who are probably asymptomatic but have the virus and just don't know that they have it."


"Unlike some other viruses, that seems to be the case, and wearing a mask might be helpful if you don't know you have it, preventing you from spreading it to someone else," Hahn added.

President Trump on Friday announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending Americans wear facial coverings made of cloth while out in public to help stop the spread of coronavirus.


During the press conference, Trump called the recommendation "voluntary" and said he wouldn't do it himself.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams addressed the confusion over masks on Friday, saying the task force has "evolved" on the issue but pleaded with Americans who are not sick to leave the N95 and surgical masks for medical professionals and instead make homemade cloth coverings if they decide to use them.

Fox News' Alex Pappas contributed to this report.