President Trump told reporters Friday he doesn’t plan to wear a face mask, as he announced a new CDC advisory recommending Americans wear face coverings to avoid spreading coronavirus.
Speaking to reporters inside the White House briefing room, Trump announced the CDC’s new recommendation, emphasizing it was merely “voluntary.”
TRUMP: "The CDC is advising the use of non-medical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure." pic.twitter.com/bAF0uxPysO
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) April 3, 2020
Reading from prepared statements, Trump said, “From recent studies we know that the transmission from individuals without symptoms is playing a more sig role in the spread of the virus than previously understood in light of these studies the CDC is advising the use of non-medical cloth face covering as an additional ‘voluntary’ public health measure.”
“So it’s ‘voluntary,'” Trump repeated, at this point appearing to go off-script. “You don’t have to do it. They suggest it for a period of time, but this is ‘voluntary.'”
“I don’t think I’m gonna be doing it,” he added, before going back to the prepared statement.
Trump later elaborated after a reporter asked why he wouldn’t wear a mask.
“What would people gain from wearing a mask and why are you opposed to wearing one yourself?” a reporter asked.
President Trump on why he won’t wear a face mask: pic.twitter.com/biOFY76444
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) April 3, 2020
“Well, I just don’t want to wear one myself. It’s a recommendation they recommend it. I’m feeling good. I just don’t want to be doing.. I don’t know, somehow sitting in the Oval Office, behind the beautiful resolute desk… The great Resolute desk, I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens… I don’t know, somehow I don’t see it for myself. I just don’t, maybe I’ll change my mind, but this will pass and hopefully it will pass very quickly.”
Trump added the recommended face mask could be bought or made from cloth with material most already have at home.
Additionally, the president emphasized the CDC was not recommending the public wear surgical or medical grade masks, as they want medical protective gear reserved for medical workers.
Guidance from health authorities on whether the public should wear face masks has in recent days appeared convoluted.
While the US Surgeon General in January told the public to “STOP BUYING MASKS” because they’re “NOT effective in preventing the general public from catching coronavirus,” on Thursday the Surgeon General appeared to reverse that advice, this time claiming masks could help “prevent asymptomatic disease transmission to others.”
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!
They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
There remains scant evidence wearing a mask- especially improperly- provides much benefit to a healthy wearer.
However emerging data suggests facial coverings may prevent asymptomatic disease transmission to others.
We always follow and react to the data – @CDCgov is studying
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) April 2, 2020
Meanwhile, the border town of Laredo, Texas, has mandated all residents wear a mask while in public or face a fine up to $1,000 or even incarceration.
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