July 14 (UPI) -- The United States could have the coronavirus pandemic "under control" in a matter of weeks if only everyone would start wearing masks, said Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stating the evidence is in that they work to stop the virus' spread.
During a webinar Tuesday with the Journal of the American Medical Association, Redfield said data is continuing to mount proving that "masking works" to stymie the spread of the coronavirus, urging the American public that "the time is now" to embrace universal masking.
"I think if we could get everybody to wear a mask right now I really do think over the next four, six, eight weeks we could bring this epidemic under control," he said.
Redfield said masking is among the most powerful weapons they have to fight the virus along with handwashing and social distancing.
"If we vigorously did this we could bring this outbreak back to where it needs to be and shut down transmission," he said.
His remarks came as cases surge in the United States. On Tuesday, the nation reported more than 59,000 new cases, continuing a trend of tallying around 60,000 cases or more a day in the past week, according to a live count of the virus Johns Hopkins University.
The United States leads the world by far in both infections at more than 3.4 million cases and deaths at more than 136,400 fatalities to the virus.
While a survey released Tuesday by the CDC shows that more than 75 percent of American adults said they wear face coverings when out in public, there has been resistance from some who see the issue as political, which Redfield said he was "sadden" by.
"Masking is not a political issue, it's a public health issue," he said. "It really is a personal responsibility for all of us."
Redfield said he was "glad" to see that President Donald Trump was photographed wearing a mask over the weekend while touring the Walter Reed National Military Center in Bethesda, Md., stating, "we need them to set the example."