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The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could encourage Americans to wear masks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, President Trump said Thursday.
During the coronavirus task force press briefing, Trump said the recommendations could be released
"I think they're going to be coming out with regulations on that and if people want to abide by them — frankly, I don't think they'll be mandatory because some people don't want to do that," Trump said. "If people wanted to wear them, they can."
"A recommendation is coming out, we'll see what that recommendation is," he added later. "But I will say this, they can pretty much decide for themselves right now."
He later confirmed the recommendations would be nationwide.
SHOULD FACE MASKS BE WORN IN PUBLIC?
Previously, the CDC has said face masks should be reserved for health care workers, the sick and people caring for them.
However, health officials have been considering if the rest of the public should be wearing them too as the number of coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise.
Before the press briefing Thursday, Statnews reported that the White House would announce the new policy, citing a federal official familiar with the policy.
The website got a hold of a document from the CDC that said the public should wear homemade masks when going into public — while higher-quality masks should be reserved for health care workers and hospitals.
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According to Statnews, the homemade masks are meant to prevent the wearer from unknowingly spreading the coronavirus — as opposed to protecting the wearer from the virus.
During the coronavirus task force meeting on Monday, Trump said the matter was “certainly something we could discuss,” the New York Times reported earlier this week.
The director of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield, also previously told WABE Atlanta that the agency was “reviewing its guidelines on who should wear masks,” according to The Times.
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However, one concern with recommending the general public to wear masks is that there would be more shortages of medical masks needed for health care workers, the Times reported.
According to Statnews, the recommendations for wearing masks were not finalized and could be changed.