Reporters without masks grill Trump about not wearing one during coronavirus White House briefing
'CDC is advising the use of nonmedical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure. It’s voluntary. You don’t have to do it,' POTUS had said recently
White House reporters, at a press briefing on April 5, repeatedly asked President Donald Trump why he was not wearing a medical face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic. One of the reporters at the briefing — who was not wearing a mask — pointed out that former Vice President and 2020 Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden had said that he would start wearing a mask outdoors. The reporter then asked Trump and the White House task force when would they start wearing masks?
Experts have advised wearing a protective face mask to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
“Are we getting to the point where we might see the members of the coronavirus task force also wear face coverings?” the reporter asked. Trump responded to the question saying that the Federal advisory to wear protective masks was voluntary and that he would not have a problem with anyone in his administration wearing a mask.
While another reporter at the White House press conference questioned why First Lady Melania Trump recommended Americans to wear face masks when they step out in public, Trump said, "She feels that way."
The World Health Organization (WHO) had initially issued an advisory saying that wearing masks may not assist people who have not contracted the virus, and has asked that masks should be used by health personnel and coronavirus patients. Reports state that the advisory may be changed soon after multiple studies have stated that the virus can remain active in the air for some time.
"I would wear one," Trump said. "Would you like me to wear one right now? That would be a little awkward, I guess. But again, I would wear one if I thought it was important," he added.
During the briefing, only a few technicians and photographers were seen wearing maks. However, the reporters in the briefing room chairs were not wearing any. Trump said that he "wouldn’t be surprised" if his family members in New York would be recommended to wear masks.
When top immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci at the event was asked by a reporter why he was not wearing a mask, the expert responded saying that the main reason to wear a mask was to protect sick individuals from spreading the virus. He also acknowledged that he was tested for the novel coronavirus and his results came back negative. “I had a test today, and it was negative,” Fauci said.
The questions from reporters came after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), on April 4 recommended that all Americans wear masks in public in an attempt to curb the virus spread.
Trump, while announcing the guidelines, said, "The CDC is advising the use of nonmedical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure. So it’s voluntary. You don’t have to do it.”
Coronavirus has claimed more than 9,500 lives in the United States within weeks and the total number of infections in the country has risen above 337,000, according to the John Hopkins University live-tracking dashboard. The US has been branded the worst affected- country in the world amid the pandemic, with the most number of infections and a rapidly-rising death toll.