House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that the country is “long overdue” for a national mask-wearing mandate to combat the novel coronavirus.
Asked whether it was time to “mandate the wearing of masks across the country,” she said, “I definitely — long overdue for that.”
“My understanding is that the Centers for Disease Control has recommended the use of masks but not required it because they don’t want to offend the president,” said Ms. Pelosi on ABC’s “This Week.”
Ms. Pelosi also said that President Trump should wear a mask in public, declaring, “Real men wear masks.”
“The president should be an example,” said Ms. Pelosi. “Real men wear masks. Be an example to the country and wear the mask. It’s not about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting others.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar noted Sunday that President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are in unique positions, given that they are both tested daily for COVID-19, as are the people around them.
Neither has tested positive for the coronavirus. The U.S. has recorded 2,597,891 cases of COVID-19 and 128,163 deaths, according to Worldometer.
States and cities are increasingly implementing mask mandates as the post-lockdown reopening results in an increase of COVID-19 cases.
A dozen U.S. states, including California, Michigan, Nevada and New York, have issued requirements on wearing face masks in public when social distancing isn’t possible.
The CDC guidance says that cloth face coverings “may slow the spread of the virus,” calling them an “extra layer” of protection, but stressed that people should still practice social distancing.