In a first, Donald Trump wears mask in public
“I’ve never been against masks, but I do believe they have a time and a place,” Trump told reporters.Updated: Jul 12, 2020 09:10 IST
US President Donald Trump wore a mask in public during a visit to a military hospital Saturday, falling in line with the recommendations of his public health officials and experts.
It was a navy blue mask with the golden presidential seal emblazoned on the left.
“I’ve never been against masks, but I do believe they have a time and a place,” Trump told reporters shortly before leaving the White House for the Walter Reed military hospital just outside Washington DC in the adjoining state Maryland.
Trump’s grudging capitulation came under mounting pressure from his aides, allies and critics, on a day when the cumulative total of Covid-19 infections in the United States climbed to 3.24 million, with 66,627 new infections, and fatalities went up to 134,740 with 802 deaths in the last 24 hours.
The American president had refused to wear a mask in public — he said he wore it once out of public view — triggering a political war about facial coverings, with many conservatives around the country following his lead. Many Republican-ruled states had refused to make it mandatory — such as Texas — until recently, when it was hit by a brutal spike in Covid-19 cases.
The United States federally introduced the use of masks, or any facial covering, in early April as a recommendation. But as the epidemic took hold of the country, states such as New York, which quickly emerged as the epicenter, made masks mandatory in public places. Other states followed at their own pace.
But Trump’s top public health officials such as Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, members of the task force he set up to spearhead his administration’s battle against the virus, began recommending it urgently, along with social distancing measures, as the best bed to slow down the spread.
President Trump had refused to wear masks in public interactions at the White House and outside, disregarding these urgent appeals. He and his campaign had even mocked Joe Biden, his presumptive Democratic rival for the White House in November, for wearing one.
US states battling with the new surge in infections — deaths have been declining — are embracing masks more urgently than earlier. Texas, a Republican-ruled state, made masks mandatory in the first week of July and Arizona — also Republican-ruled state — has left it to its mayors to decide.
Louisiana, a Democratic-governed state, also in the grip of the new surge, made masks mandatory Saturday. “Today, I am announcing a mandatory mask requirement for Louisiana, ordering bars closed to on-premises consumption and limiting indoor social gatherings to 50 total people,” John Bel Edwards. the governor, announced on twitter. The new measures go into effect Monday.