US President Donald Trump, who has avoided being seen in public wearing a face covering, said on Wednesday he would wear a mask if he were in close quarters with other people in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Trump also maintained that face coverings do not need to become mandatory to curb Covid-19’s spread.
He again predicted the infection would “disappear,” as the US hit a new record high of 52,000 virus cases in a day.
His remarks to Fox News come a day after a top Republican called on Mr Trump to wear a mask as an example, BBC reported.
The US now has nearly 2.7 million confirmed Covid-19 infections and more than 128,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the pandemic.
What has Trump already said about the masks?
When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) started recommending people to wear masks or cloth covers in public in April to help stop the spread of the virus, Trump told reporters that he would not follow this practice.
“I don’t think I’m going to do it,” he said at the time. “Wear a mask to greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens – I just don’t see it. ”
But Mr. Trump has repeatedly stressed that the choice to follow official health advice regarding masks is a personal decision.
Last month, he told the Wall Street Journal that some people only wore masks as a political statement against him.
In May, during a visit to a Michigan factory, he told reporters that he had removed a face cover before facing the cameras because he “did not want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it” .
The White House defended the president’s choice by saying that everyone in contact with him is frequently tested for the coronavirus, as is Mr. Trump himself.
The daughter of the president and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, was also spotted wearing a mask in public.
ABC News / Ipsos poll found that in the past week, 89% of Americans said they wore a mask or face covering outside their home last week – a jump of 20 points from in mid-April.