Daily US Times: President Donald Trump has said he will not order Americans to wear masks to stop the spread of coronavirus. His comments came after the country’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, urged local and state leaders to be “as forceful as possible” in getting people to wear masks.
Dr Fauci added, wearing face coverings is “really important” and “we should be using them, everyone”.
The wearing of face masks has become highly politicised in the US.
Most of the state governors have now ordered that the wearing of face masks outdoors be mandatory, rather than a personal choice. Some Republican governors are also among them, including Kay Ivey of Alabama, who have reversed their initial opposition to the mandates.
President Trump had previously refused to wear masks, but wore one in public for the first time last Saturday.
But on Friday, while speaking with Fox News, Mr Trump said he didn’t agree with a national mask mandate, saying people should have a “certain freedom”.
US public health body the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a statement earlier this week, urging everyone to wear masks.
“We are not defenceless against COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr Robert R Redfield said. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting.”
Republican governor Brian Kemp of the southern state of Georgia has urged residents to wear masks for the next month.
The Georgia governor made the appeal to the state’s residents despite taking legal action a day earlier against the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, who herself tested positive for coronavirus, for making face coverings mandatory in the city.
City officials of Oklahoma are also considering a city-wide indoor mask requirement, in the absence of a state-wide mandate.
Which states are seeing a surge in infections?
A number of US states are experiencing a surge in confirmed cases of coronavirus. Hundreds of military medical staff have been deployed in California and Texas to help officials cope with new Covid-19 cases, and in Arizona and Texas, cooler trucks have been sent in to help store dead bodies.
Overwhelmed hospitals in Florida have also reported in recent weeks that their ICUs are at full capacity and that they cannot accept any more patients.