Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander said Sunday that he believes that “it would help” if President Trump occasionally wore a mask to rid the political stigma surrounding the suggested precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Mr. Trump has resisted wearing a mask, noting people who are around him have been tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
“If wearing masks is important and all the health experts tell us that it is in containing the disease in 2020, it would help if from time to time the president would wear one to help us get rid of this political debate that says if you’re for Trump, you don’t wear a mask, if you’re against Trump, you do,” Mr. Alexander, Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, told CNN.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Sunday defended the president’s choice to refrain from wearing a mask and said Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are in unique positions, given that they are both tested daily for COVID-19, as are the people around them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends “that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
The agency has claimed a face covering is an “extra layer” and “may slow the spread of the virus,” but it stressed that people should still practice social distancing.
“My suggestion to the president all along and for the other political leaders is let the experts do the talking about medicine,” Mr. Alexander continued. “People trust them.”
The U.S. has recorded more than 2.5 million cases of COVID-19, 125,928 deaths and over 685,000 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
States and cities are increasingly implementing mask mandates as the post-lockdown reopening results in an increase of COVID-19 cases.
A dozen U.S. states, including California, Michigan, Nevada and New York, have issued requirements on wearing masks in public when social distancing isn’t possible.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed a mask requirement on Sunday and said the country is “long overdue” for a national mask-wearing mandate to combat the novel coronavirus.
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