First lady urges Americans to wear masks, social distance

First lady urges Americans to wear masks, social distance
© Greg Nash

First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpOnly Trump can fix vaccine hesitancy among his supporters Trump discussed pardoning Ghislaine Maxwell: book Jill Biden appears on Vogue cover MORE on Tuesday urged Americans to wear face coverings and maintain social distance amid the coronavirus pandemic, tweeting a photo of herself in a mask.

"Even in the summer months, please remember to wear face coverings & practice social distancing," the first lady tweeted. "The more precaution we take now can mean a healthier & safer country in the Fall."

The first lady has posted photos of herself wearing a mask previously and has been spotted in a face covering during official events in recent weeks. Her direct call Tuesday for Americans to continue to wear masks and socially distance is notable given President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE and other White House officials have been reluctant to make similar appeals.

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Melania Trump first encouraged Americans to wear a face covering to prevent the transmission of coronavirus in early April with a photo of herself wearing a mask. She made an unannounced visit last week to a women's ministry and wore a mask in footage released by the White House. The event was closed to the press.

The president, by contrast, wore a mask in front of media cameras for the first time Saturday, months after public health officials began encouraging the public to do so.

Government officials and public health experts have cited the use of masks as one of the most effective ways to cut down on the spread of the coronavirus, particularly among asymptomatic individuals.

The United States has 3.3 million reported coronavirus cases, the most of any country in the world. Nearly 136,000 Americans have died of the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

A majority of states are seeing increases in the number of daily coronavirus infections reported or in the rate of positive tests. Florida, Arizona and California, in particular, have set records in recent days with the number of positive cases reported.

The president has largely avoided discussing the new outbreaks, instead focusing on the strengthening stock market and inaccurately attributing the rise in cases to expanded testing capabilities.