The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidelines for people to wear bandanas, t-shirts and other fabric coverings in crowded areas, especially in hot spots.
“The CDC recommends the use of a non-medical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure,” the President said on Friday. “It is voluntary. I don’t think I will. “
Later in the evening on Friday, First Lady Melania Trump tweeted, “As we approach the weekend, I ask everyone to take social distancing seriously and wear a mask / face covering. “
At the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing daily, Trump was in a hurry to explain his reluctance to lead by example and offered a typically unconventional response. “I just don’t want to wear one myself. They say “recommendation”, they recommend it. I feel good, ”remark who ignored the evidence that many virus carriers have no symptoms.
He continued, “I just don’t want to do – sort of sitting in the oval office behind this beautiful Resolute desk, the big Resolute desk, I think I wear a mask to greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don’t know, somehow I don’t see it for myself. I may change my mind, but it will pass and I hope it will pass very quickly. “
The face covering guidelines have changed over time. Previously, only patients or people at high risk of complications from the virus were asked to wear masks. Jerome Adams, the American general surgeon, tweeted in late February that people should ” STOP BUYING MASKSAnd said they weren’t effective in protecting the general public.
Adams admitted on Friday that the evolution of the mask guidelines “has been confusing for the American people.” He said the original advice was based on the best information available at the time and that the World Health Organization recommended that it not be used.
But now, according to Adams, we know that a “significant portion” of people with the virus have no symptoms and can transmit them before they have symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, or talking. “In light of this new evidence, the CDC recommends, and the task force recommends, wearing fabric coverings in public places where other measures of social distancing are difficult to maintain. This includes places like grocery stores and pharmacies. “
Trump was not accompanied on Friday by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who spoke on the podium on Thursday of his growing role in the supply chain. .
Kushner, who has no medical qualifications, raised his eyebrows when he said states should use their own equipment stocks first, adding, “The notion of federal stock was supposed to be our stock. These are not meant to be the state stocks they use next. “
A few hours later, the administration suddenly changed the description of the strategic national stock on government websites, emphasizing that it is the largest supply in the country to be used in an emergency. public health to complement national and local supplies. “Many states also have products in stock,” he says now.
At the briefing, Trump was questioned by CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang about Kushner’s use of the word “our”. He dismissed it as a “gotcha” question, responding, “It means the United States of America. And then we take this “ours” and distribute it to the states. We need it for the government and we need it for the federal government …
“As an example, we have almost 10,000 fans and we are ready to switch with these fans. We will bring them to different parts of the country that need them. When he says “our”, he is talking about our country. He talks about the federal government. “
Increasingly pissed off as he sought to defend a family member, Trump told Jiang, a woman of color, “I mean, this is such a basic and simple question and you are trying to make it ring. that bad. You should be ashamed of yourself … You just asked your question in a very mean tone. “
Tension between the federal and state governments over the distribution of respirators, masks, gloves and other equipment has been a defining feature of America’s inconsistent response to the virus. Trump has stolen the number of supplies that Washington sends to the states, including 8.1 million masks in New York, which has been the hardest hit.
But Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, tweeted on Friday: “We don’t have enough fans. Period. “
Pressed to know if he can assure New Yorkers that they will have enough, Trump bluntly said, “No. They should have had more fans at the time. They should have had more fans, they were totally underserved. We try to do – we do our best for New York.
“You know, we have states, we have a lot of states – we also have territories – but we have a lot of states that need to be taken care of. Some much more than others. We think it is well served with fans. We will find out. “
While Fauci called for a national state order at home, Trump continues to argue that the main responsibility lies with the states. “I leave it to the governors,” he said on Friday. “I like it from a governance point of view.”
Critics say the administration has been trapped by the pandemic and mobilized too late to purchase and manufacture equipment. But Trump hit his predecessor, Barack Obama, complaining, “Under the previous administration, the shelves were empty.”
As Trump also continues to attack Obama’s affordable care law and massive job losses leave people uninsured, there are growing concerns about access to health care for millions of people. . But the White House said on Friday that it would cover the costs of treatment for coronaviruses for the uninsured, using $ 100 billion set aside in the emergency relief program adopted by Congress last week.
Friday’s briefing also produced a very Trumpian moment when referring to models projecting the spread of the virus and the death toll. He said, “The models show that hundreds of thousands of people are going to die. Do you know what I want to do? I want to go largely under the model. The professionals made the models. I have never been involved in a model – at least, that kind of model. “