Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Saturday said he will don a protective mask in public after the federal government released new guidance encouraging people to cover their faces amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“Yesterday for the first time, given the recommendations of the experts, I wore a mask,” the New York Democrat said on CNN. “I didn’t enjoy it, but you have to do it.”
He said people should listen to the experts.
“They know best,” Mr. Schumer said. “If they say wear a mask, I’m wearing a mask even though I don’t particularly enjoy it.”
President Trump on Friday announced new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that encourage people to wear cloth face coverings in public when other “social distancing” measures are difficult to maintain.
Mr. Trump stressed that the new guidelines were voluntary and said he doesn’t plan to wear a mask.
Both U.S. officials and the World Health Organization had previously discouraged the general public from wearing masks. Officials said people who do so have a habit of touching their faces more often and that the masks could give them a false sense of security.
The purpose of the masks isn’t necessarily to prevent the wearer from becoming infected, but to lower the chances that an unknowing or asymptomatic carrier infects someone nearby.
The CDC said people should not wear surgical masks or N-95 respirators, saying those critical supplies should be saved for health care workers and first responders.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Friday said the masks should not be seen as a substitute for other social distancing measures like keeping a 6-foot distance from other people.