President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force is expected to unveil new CDC guidelines that Americans wear masks or other protective facial cloth in public to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The Daily Beast reports: The decision to announce, first reported by Stat News, had been delayed, in part, by fears inside the White House over the optics of issuing new guidelines that directly contradicted those previously pushed out by the federal government, those same sources said. In internal deliberations, members of the administration’s coronavirus taskforce have worried that changing the messaging on masks could raise questions about whether the government made a mistake in its original guidelines, officials say. Officials are also concerned that the new guidelines would end up worsening the supply problems for healthcare workers who are already running low on personal protective gear, including N95 respirators. As such, the administration’s guidance is likely to encourage people to make their own masks at home, an official said.
More from the Associated Press: The recommendations, still being finalized Thursday, would apply at least to those who live in areas hard-hit by community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. A person familiar with the White House coronavirus task force’s discussion said officials would suggest that non-medical masks, T-shirts or bandannas be used to cover the nose and mouth when outside the home — for instance, at the grocery store or pharmacy. Medical-grade masks, particularly short-in-supply N95 masks, would be reserved for those dealing directly with the sick. … A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention draft of the guidance would make the covering recommendation apply to nearly all Americans, all over the country, according to a federal official who has seen the draft but was not authorized to discuss it. Some exceptions would be young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or anyone who is unable to remove the covering without help.
Watch Thursday’s White House briefing below.