“Please, please, please wear a face covering when you go out in public,” Surgeon General
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
Pence himself wore a mask before he began speaking.
Several Southern and Western states are seeing an escalation in new case numbers, prompting some to put off reopening plans.
The call for masks came on the same day infectious-disease expert
Pinpointing indoor gatherings, particularly bar scenes with lines out the door and patrons standing shoulder to shoulder, Fauci said new cases of Covid-19 could rise to 100,000 a day, up from the current level of about 40,000.
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.”
He also made it clear that there are no plans to issue national requirements on masks, allowing states to manage their “unique circumstances.”
“And we’ll continue to use that model, respecting the decisions that governors are making,” Pence said.
But Adams called for Americans to wear masks -- not just where there are mandates to do so -- and said the face coverings don’t restrict freedoms.
“It actually is a vehicle to achieve our goals, it adds to your convenience and your freedom, because it allows us to open up more places and it allows those places to stay open,” he said.
In some parts of the country, the issue has gone from a health issue to a political one.
In Colorado later Tuesday, Governor
“For a while, unfortunately, like too many things across society, it all seemed to become like an ideological thing or even a party thing,” Polis, a Democrat, told reporters in Denver.
(Updates with Pence wearing mask, Polis remarks, starting in fourth paragraph.)
--With assistance from
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