CDC director says Trump, Pence should wear masks to set example

CDC director says Trump, Pence should wear masks to set example
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield said Tuesday the president and vice president need to wear masks to set an example for the public.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection MORE wore a mask in public for the first time over the weekend, nearly three months after the CDC issued guidance recommending the use of face coverings when social distancing isn’t possible. Trump has previously argued he doesn’t need to wear a mask because he is routinely tested for COVID-19.

“Glad to see the president wear a mask this week and the vice president, and clearly in their situation they could easily justify that they don’t need to because of all the testing around them and they know they’re not infected,” Redfield said during a livestreamed interview with Howard Bauchner, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

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“But we need them to set the example, as you said, for other individuals,” he added. 

Public health experts have urged Trump to wear a mask, noting that it could go a long way in encouraging his supporters to do the same. 

Polls show mask-wearing has become a partisan issue, with Democrats much more likely than Republicans to wear masks. 

Trump wore a mask while visiting Walter Reed hospital over the weekend, acknowledging it is a good setting for doing so. 

According to a new poll released by the CDC on Tuesday, 76 percent of adults said they had worn a face covering when leaving their house within the past week. That lines up with other polls that have been conducted on the issue. 

However, that number needs to improve if the U.S. wants to get COVID-19 under control, Redfield said. 

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“I do think if we could get everybody to wear masks right now — I really do think over the next four, six, eight weeks, we could bring this epidemic until control,” he said. 

In the early days of COVID-19, the CDC recommended that only sick people and health professionals use masks. However, the agency changed its guidance after emerging evidence showed that people could get COVID-19 without showing symptoms and that face coverings could slow the spread of the virus.

The CDC recommends the use of cloth face coverings for the general public because masks used by health workers are in short supply. 

“I think the data is clearly there that masking works,” Redfield said.