Top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci warned that the 'divisive state' of the US is getting in the way of the nation's coronavirus response during an interview with the Trevor Noah.
'One of the things that gets in the way is that we are in such a divisive state in society that it tends to get politicized,' Dr Fauci said.
'People take sides, like wearing a mask or not is a political statement and that's really unfortunate, totally unfortunate, because that is a purely public health issue, it's not one side against the other.'
Noah noted the confusion and contradiction seeming to arise between various top health officials and agencies, as well as between those groups and the president.
'There has been switches in how the messages have gone out,' Dr Fauci acknowledged.
It comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance and then retracted it - twice - while Americans try to work out what is and isn't safe to do, whether there will be a vaccine this year, and whether that will be safe.
When asked by Trevor Noah (left) about the mixed messages surrounding coronavirus, Dr Anthony Fauci (right) said that part of the problem was the 'divisive' state of the US
These divisions and mixed messages come as an already tense political climate in the US heats up ahead of the November 3 election.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus death toll is on the verge of reaching 200,000 in the US.
Noah pointed out that many in the public look only to the death toll as a measure of the pandemic's grip on the US, while ignoring case increases.
That includes Trump, who said on Monday night that the virus 'affects virtually no one' while the largely maskless crowd at his rally booed face covering mandates.
Fauci acknowledged that the daily case numbers in the US are significantly lower than they were during the summer - but said that doesn't mean they're low enough.
'We went way up to 70,000 [new cases a day], and now we're coming back to 30,000-40,000,' he said.
'Some of the numbers are really good but our baseline is still really high. When we tried to open the economy, some people jumped ahead.'
Much of the country began