The Trump administration’s coronavirus task force stepped up its calls for Americans to wear masks as cases surge in some states but Vice President Mike Pence said there are no plans to override governors who have yet to require them.
Adams delivered the strongest plea to the public yet from an administration that has often sidestepped direct recommendations to wear masks. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Pence both urged wearing a mask at the event in Rockville, Maryland, though Pence only said to do so if local authorities recommended it.
The call for masks came on the same day infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci told a Senate panel that the U.S. is “going in the wrong direction” in its effort to contain the novel coronavirus and daily case counts could more than double if behaviors don’t change.
Pence said to “wear a mask, wherever it’s indicated or wherever you’re not able to practice the kind of social distancing that would prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”
In Colorado later Tuesday, Governor Jared Polis said he thought “there’s been a break through because you have Mike Pence wearing a mask. You have the governor of Taxes and Arizona saying everybody needs to wear a mask. These are staunch conservative Republicans. This is not an ideological and partisan thing. It’s a science thing.”