Face masks: How the Trump administration went from 'no need' to 'put one on' to fight coronavirus
Added 04-06-20 02:11:02am EST - “Just a little over a month after saying there was no need for the community at large to wear masks in public, the CDC has changed its mind, recommending that all Americans should wear some sort of face covering when venturing outside.” - News.yahoo.com
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WASHINGTON — Testifying on Capitol Hill on Feb. 28, Dr. Robert Redfield could not be more clear. “There is no need for these masks in the community,” Dr. Redfield said of the N95 masks that were then becoming the subject of intense focus, with the coronavirus outbreak having arrived on the West Coast of the United States.
“These masks need to be prioritized for health care professionals,” Redfield added. Coming from the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this pronouncement had the weight of an official directive. So even as images of people in Asian countries wearing masks proliferated, the vast majority of Americans remained mask-free.
Just a little over a month later, the CDC has changed its mind. During Friday’s briefing of the White House coronavirus task force, President Trump said that all Americans should wear some sort of face covering when venturing outside.
That announcement is the culmination at the highest levels of government of debate over a question far less simple than it seems: Does putting something over your face keep you safe from infection?
Trump said on Friday that the guidance was not mandatory and that he would not follow it himself, suggesting that it would be unseemly to don protective gear in the Oval Office. Nor will the federal government provide face masks to Americans who wish to wear one. “Most people could just make something,” he said, “out of a certain material.” He had previously suggested using scarves.
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