President Donald Trump declared on Saturday that he will not wear a face mask despite new medical guidance advising Americans to do so.
He said he could not see himself greeting “presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens” in the Oval Office while wearing one.
He described as voluntary the guidance issued on Friday by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the government’s public health advisory agency, on mask wearing in the US.
New York State remains the worst affected area, with nearly 3,000 deaths, and state governor Andrew Cuomo has appealed for help from other parts of the country.
Until now, US health authorities had said that only the sick, or those caring for patients of coronavirus, should wear masks, but newer studies suggest that covering up one’s face is important to prevent inadvertent transmission.
Trump had told reporters on Friday that “from recent studies we know that the transmission from individuals without symptoms is playing a more significant role in the spread of the virus than previously understood.”