TODAY all Americans have been advised to wear a face mask in public, although US President Donald Trump says he has no intention of wearing one.
“All Americans should now wear face masks,” said the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It recommends that people wear a face mask or a “simple cloth face covering” when they are in public places, such as grocery stores and pharmacies.
The recommendation for face masks in the US follows an intense debate over several days as a divided Trump administration wrestled with whether to request, such a drastic change in Americans’ social behaviour.
“We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (asymptomatic) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (pre-symptomatic) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity – for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing – even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms,” said the CDC. In light of this new evidence, the CDC recommends “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission”.
This recommendation complements the social distancing rule and does not “replace the President’s guidelines for America, 30 Days to Slow the Spread, which remains the cornerstone of our national effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus”, added the CDC. “We will make additional recommendations as the evidence regarding appropriate public health measures continues to develop.”
The measures have come as more than 7,000 people have died to date in the US. Half of those deaths pertain to New York State reaching 3,565 on Saturday, an increase of 630 from yesterday.
Trump, however, has repeatedly described the recommendation as “voluntary” and made it clear that he “did not intend to wear a mask”.