Trump then doubled down on his intent to wear a face covering in a hospital setting, saying in a Friday interview with Telemundo, “That wouldn't be difficult at all for me.” Masks have become a political flash point as some Americans argue the requirement infringes upon their civil liberties.
But the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges everyone to wear a “cloth face cover when they have to go out in public,” noting that masks are critical in areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain since the coronavirus can spread between asymptomatic people and through respiratory droplets in the air. And even as some of his aides gently encouraged him to be seen following his own government's advice, Trump insisted wearing a mask would make him appear weak and give off the impression that he wasn't controlling the pandemic.
During a May visit to a Ford plant in Michigan, Trump refused to wear a mask in view of the press, because he said he didn't want to give into media criticism and pressure. CNN's Sarah Much, Jeremy Diamond, Kevin Lipton and Jason Hoffman contributed to this report.
President Donald Trump is again questioning the effectiveness of masks in protecting against catching the coronavirus. On Thursday, he repeated an incorrect claim about masks, citing a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Trump was referring to a Sept. 10 report from the CDC that found that dining out raised the risk of infection more than other social activities. The report has gone viral this week on social media, with the claims that the agency’s mask guidance isn’t preventing people from getting sick.
In a phone survey, participants were asked about their social activities for the two weeks prior to testing positive, such as going to church, gyms or stores. The study also found that for those in the group who had tested negative, 89 percent had reported wearing masks with the same frequency.
Dr. Todd Rice, lead author of the study and associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, told NBC News that the research is actually mask neutral” and that the data wasn’t designed to argue for or against mask wearing. A key problem with the “masks don’t stop the spread” claim: The data was self-reported through phone surveys.
The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the majority of the people in the study reported using cloth face coverings or mask types “often” or “always” when in public. “At no time has CDC guidance suggested that masks were intended to protect the wearers,” the agency spokesperson said in the statement.
“There are some things that should be universally practiced, and that is the universal wearing of masks, avoiding crowds, keeping a distance, doing things outdoors more than indoors and washing our hands frequently,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC News’ Kate Snow recently.