Pence flouts guidelines on masks, US toll goes past Vietnam War
At around that time, the number of reported and confirmed Covid-19 infections in the United States crept past the million-mark.Updated: Apr 29, 2020 21:48 IST
Vice President Mike Pence toured a medical facility in Minnesota Tuesday without a face mask or covering. He and the White House coronavirus task force that he leads have so assiduously canvassed Americans to wear in public places where social-distancing rules are impossible to follow.
The vice-president, who has been a staid and amiable contrast to his flamboyant and scrappy boss, interacted with healthcare workers, officials and and patients, who all wore masks, as is the policy at the facility, Mayo Clinic, which said in a tweet, since deleted, that Pence had been told about it.
Pence defended himself telling reporters later, “As vice president of the United States I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus. He added that he wanted to to look workers and researchers “in the eye and say thank you”.
At around that time, the number of reported and confirmed Covid-19 infections in the United States crept past the million-mark. And by Wednesday morning it had gone up to 1.01 million, with 24,385 new cases in the last 24 hours.
Fatalities over the same period went up by 2,096 to 58,368, to cross another grim milestone. The novel coronavirus has now killed Americans than the 58,220 who perished in the Vietnam War.
Face masks or coverings have been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and repeatedly endorsed by Pence and the task force to prevent transmission of the virus by infected but asymptomatic people, specially in public places where the six-foot rule is difficult to observe.
Pence’s boss, President Donald Trump has been leery of masks from day one and, as he touted questionable cures and therapeutics such as disinfectants most recently, clearly rejected it for himself. It is only a recommendation and “I don’t see it for myself”, he said announcing the measure on April 3, .
Many states, specially the hardest hit such as New York and New Jersey, have since made face coverings mandatory in public places, such as grocery stores. pharmacies.
Face coverings and social-distancing rules will be required increasingly as states begin reopening businesses and are expected to be continued for the foreseeable future.
As the United States seeks to find a way out of the crisis, it has found itself confronting, for the first time during the epidemic, the prospect of food shortages. President Trump on Tuesday used his war powers under a cold-war era law to order meat processing companies to stay open and keep the food supply chains intact and running.
At least 20 plants have closed in recent days due to high incidence of infections and deaths among their workers, according to an analysis by the Washington Post.
“The food supply chain is breaking,” John H. Tyson, chairman of the board at Tyson’s, one of the country’s largest meat processors, wrote in a full-page newspaper ad in multiple publications Sunday.