Pentagon chief says military moving toward face coverings

Pentagon chief says military moving toward face coverings
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Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperDuckworth releases hold on military confirmations, citing proof Vindman earned promotion White House CTO chosen to serve as acting Pentagon tech chief Congress pulls punches on Russian bounties firestorm MORE said Sunday that the military will issue guidance on face coverings for troops after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended people cover their faces when out in public to stem the spread of coronavirus.

ABC’s George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosMary Trump to president: 'Resign' Chris Christie: I wouldn't have commuted Roger Stone sentence CDC won't revise school opening guidelines after Trump criticism MORE asked Esper on “This Week” whether he expects all service members to follow the new CDC guidelines.

“We will have a directive on that coming out today,” he said, adding “We are going to move toward face coverings.”

The Pentagon chief also said another priority, in addition to the protection of troops, is to continue to conduct the country’s national security missions.

“And to do that, we can’t always do six feet distancing whether you’re in an attack submarine, a bomber, in a tank, so we have to take other measures,” he said. 

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“But we ought to provide them all the guidance they need to adjust it in whatever’s unique to their situation, their circumstance or the mission set,” he added. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pitches Goya Foods products on Twitter Sessions defends recusal: 'I leave elected office with my integrity intact' Former White House physician Ronny Jackson wins Texas runoff MORE announced the new CDC recommendations Friday, repeatedly saying it is “voluntary.”

“You can do it. You don't have to do it. I'm choosing not to do it, but some people may want to do it, and that's OK,” he said.

The recommendations are a backtrack from the CDC’s earlier suggestion that healthy people should not use masks because it would not protect them from contracting the coronavirus. 

But now, the CDC says wearing a face covering can prevent asymptomatic people from unknowingly spreading the disease, adding that people should not purchase the surgical masks or N95 respirators needed by medical professionals. Officials also stressed the recommendation was to be used in addition to, not instead of, social distancing guidelines.