Trump refuses to order Americans to wear masks

President Donald Trump wears a face mask as he walks down a hallway during a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Saturday, July 11, 2020. (AP Photo)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday urged Americans to wear masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a full reversal of his initially dismissive attitude toward face coverings.

During an interview, CBS News’ Catherine Herridge asked the president whether there should be a federal mandate on wearing masks or if it should be left to governors to decide. Trump responded that governors go by guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and “that’s good.”

His comments came after the country’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, urged state and local leaders to be “as forceful as possible” in getting people to wear masks.

Wearing face coverings, Dr Fauci added, is “really important” and “we should be using them, everyone”. The wearing of face coverings has become highly politicised in the US, BBC reported.

The majority of state governors have now ordered that the wearing of masks outdoors be mandatory, rather than a personal choice. Among them are Republican governors, including Kay Ivey of Alabama, who have reversed their initial opposition to the mandates.

President Trump, who had previously resisted wearing a face covering himself, wore a mask in public for the first time last Saturday.

But speaking to Fox News on Friday, Trump said he didn’t agree with a national mask mandate, saying people should have a “certain freedom”.