“The evidence was pretty compelling by last March or April that uniform wearing of masks would reduce transmission of this disease,” Francis Collins told Axios. “And yet, with a variety of messages through a variety of sources, mask wearing became a statement about your political party or an invasion of your personal freedom.”

Collins also said that pleas from national public health officials like himself to commit to face coverings while in public “got categorized in all sorts of other ways that were not factual” by politicians, despite scientific proof showing that mass mask-wearing helps slow the spread of the coronavirus

Collins called this spinning of scientific information for political gain “dangerous.”

“And I think you could make a case that tens of thousands of people died as a result,” he said.