In a tweet posted Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump shared a photo of himself wearing a mask and asked all Americans to use face coverings “in our effort to defeat the invisible China Virus.”
“It is patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance,” wrote Trump. “There is nobody more patriotic than me, your favorite president.”
The president’s tweet came one week after he was seen wearing a face mask for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Trump wore a face covering during a visit to Walter Reed Medical Center last Saturday.
Trump’s lack of facial covering has been something of a hot-button issue with members of the news media as well as his political foes, who have criticized his failure to wear a mask during his public appearances.
While touring a Ford plant in May, the president said he was wearing a face mask but refused to keep it on when he was in front of photographers because he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.”
And later that month, Trump retweeted a post by Fox News commentator Brit Hume, who was making fun of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for donning a mask.
“This might help explain why Trump doesn’t like to wear a mask in public,” wrote Hume.
As for the efficacy of masks, there is a growing list of sources indicating it is helpful to wear face coverings, particularly when social distancing is more difficult or when people are indoors. Masks help by reducing the spray of germ-filled droplets that come from the nose and mouth.
Some of the skepticism over masks can be traced back to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Apparently, in an effort to preserve masks for health care works, the federal agency advised Americans against wearing facial coverings.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted in February, asking people to “stop buying masks,” adding, “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching coronavirus.”
Not long after, the CDC totally changed its guidelines, encouraging Americans to purchase (or make) reusable cloth masks because the virus can by spread by asymptomatic people.