Melania Trump urges Americans to wear face coverings in public

First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpWarning label added to Trump tweet over potential mail-in voting disinformation New Melania Trump statue replaces one that burned to the ground in Slovenia The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Latest with the COVID-19 relief bill negotiations MORE is encouraging Americans to wear face masks to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued such a recommendation on Friday

"As the weekend approaches I ask that everyone take social distancing & wearing a mask/face covering seriously. [COVID -19] is a virus that can spread to anyone - we can stop this together," she tweeted Friday.

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Her tweet came shortly after President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE announced that his administration was recommending Americans wear homemade masks or face coverings but emphasized it was "voluntary" and added: " I'm choosing not to do it, but some people may want to do it, and that's OK."

The new CDC recommendation marks a reversal from its guidance at the beginning of the outbreak when it suggested healthy people did not need to wear masks because it would not protect them from contracting the disease. But new research has shown the virus lingering for hours in the air after infected people cough, sneeze or even speak. 

The guidance advises the use of masks in areas where coronavirus is spreading rapidly. Officials have cautioned though that face masks should not be viewed as an "artificial sense of protection," warning that if you touch other parts of your face while wearing the mask or aren't careful about hand-washing when removing the mask, the virus can still spread. 

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"The most important thing is the social distancing and washing your hands," Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said this week. "And we don’t want people to get an artificial sense of protection because they’re behind a mask. Because if they’re touching things — remember your eyes are not in the mask — so if you’re touching things and then touching your eyes you're exposing yourself in the same way."

Trump repeatedly appeared to undercut the CDC's recommendation at the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Friday, saying he wouldn’t be wearing one because “I’m feeling good.”

“I just don't want to be doing that. I don't know. Somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute Desk, great Resolute Desk, I think, and wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens. I don't see it for myself,” he said before adding: “Maybe I’ll change my mind.”