22, July 2020
US President Donald Trump has urged Americans to wear masks, warning that the coronavirus pandemic in the United States may “get worse before it gets better.”
In what seems to be a shift in rhetoric and tone, Trump encouraged Americans on Tuesday to use face coverings if they cannot maintain social distance.
“It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better – something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is,” he told reporters in his first press briefing in months focused on the outbreak.
“We’re asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask, get a mask. Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They’ll have an effect. And we need everything we can get,” he added.
He also asked young people to avoid going to crowded bars, but noted that that the virus would disappear at some point.
“We are in the process of developing a strategy that’s going to be very, very powerful. We have developed it as we go along,” he claimed.
The president, who himself was not wearing a mask at the briefing, also said he was getting used to masks and that would wear one in groups or when on an elevator.
“I will use it, gladly,” said the president, who has previously disparaged masks as unsanitary. “Anything that potentially can help … is a good thing.”
This comes as the Republican president’s aides have reportedly pressed him to adopt a more measured approach amid an ongoing spike in the virus infections across the country.
So far, more than 4,028,700 have tested positive and over 144,900 died across the country.
Meanwhile, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has told CNN that Trump’s new embrace of mask-wearing indicated that he was realizing his mistakes in dealing with the virus.
“This is not a hoax – it is a pandemic that has gotten worse before it will get better because of his inaction, and in fact clearly it is the Trump virus,” Pelosi said.
Trump has been under fire for publicly downplaying the threat of the pandemic and his handling of the worsening COVID-19 crisis which has killed more than 143,000 people in the United States and crippled the country’s economy.
On Monday, hundreds of scientists from the US National Academy of Sciences had rebuked Trump’s “denigration of scientific expertise” over coronavirus response and other affronts.
In an unusual move by the scientific community, more than 1,200 members of the National Academy of Sciences signed an open letter seeking to “restore science-based policy in government,” The Guardian reported.