Washington: President Donald Trump on Wednesday conceded that it was a good idea to wear face masks in public to protect against the coronavirus and warned that the pandemic may “get worse before it gets better”.
In the US where wearing or not wearing a face mask has become a politically divisive issue, Mr Trump asked all Americans to wear face coverings, saying “they’ll have an effect” and show “patriotism”, the BBC reported.
Ironically, the president himself was not wearing a mask at the briefing and has disparaged them in the past as being unsanitary.
Mr Trump’s aides have reportedly pressed him to adopt a more measured approach as virus caseload spikes across the US.
In April Mr Trump had made a bizarre suggestion from the podium during a press briefing that the virus might be treated by injecting people with disinfectants.
Mr Trump – who has more than once referred to COVID-19 as the “China virus” – took a mask from his pocket in the briefing room, but did not put it on.
The president is facing an uphill battle against his Democratic rival Joe Biden in the November presidential elections, as the latter has maintained his double digit lead against him in the latest opinion polls.
Mr Biden on Tuesday accused Mr Trump of having failed Americans in his handling of the pandemic. “He’s quit on you, he’s quit on this country,” the former US vice-president said.