Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said that President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence should be seen wearing masks as an example for others during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tuesday remarks come after Trump was photographed wearing a face mask in public for the first time on Saturday during a visit to Reed National Military Medical Center. Redfield, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association during an interview that the display was a good thing.
“Glad to see the president wear a mask this week, and the vice president, and clearly in their situation, they could easily justify that they don’t need to because of all the testing around them and they know they’re not infected,” Redfield said.
“But we need them to set the example, as you said, for other individuals,” he added.
The CDC director also expounded upon the importance of wearing face coverings while around other people. He said if more people would don masks while in public, the coronavirus could be better managed by health professionals.
“I do think if we could get everybody to wear masks right now — I really do think over the next four, six, eight weeks, we could bring this epidemic until control,” Redfield said. “I think the data is clearly there that masking works.”
Wearing masks has increasingly been a point highlighted by lawmakers of both parties. Coronavirus cases continue to surge at record levels in many states, with some governors opting to enforce orders mandating that face coverings be worn.
Trump had previously pushed back on wearing a mask, arguing that because he is president and is tested for the coronavirus frequently, a mask is not needed. He did previously wear a mask during a visit to a Ford Motor Co. plant in Michigan, but he said at the time that he didn’t wear the mask in public because he “ didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.”
The United States has had about 3.4 million cases of the coronavirus and at least 136,000 deaths since the virus first emerged in central China late last year.
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