In contrast to Trump, Pence encourages wearing masks to prevent coronavirus spread

In contrast to Trump, Pence encourages wearing masks to prevent coronavirus spread

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Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday encouraged people living in areas with coronavirus outbreaks to wear a mask to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

At a press conference alongside Texas and Trump administration officials at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Pence plainly called on Americans to “wear a mask, wherever it’s indicated.”

“We encourage everyone to wear a mask in the affected areas,” Pence said. “Where you can’t maintain social distancing, wearing a mask is just a good idea, especially young people,” he added.

Also at the press conference, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said that widespread mask-wearing will allow for citizens to regain freedoms more quickly.

Pence, who donned a mask earlier Sunday, visited Texas as it is seeing a significant surge in cases and as the U.S. set a new record for single-day coronavirus cases with reports of about 46,000 on Friday. That total was driven by more than 8,000 new cases in Florida and thousands more in Arizona, California and Texas, according to an NBC News tally.

More than 125,000 coronavirus deaths have taken place in the U.S., according to an NBC News tally.

Pence had earlier postponed some appearances that were planned in Arizona and Florida this week “out of an abundance of caution” due to virus spikes in those states, a Trump campaign official said. Pence is still expected to travel to those states to meet with local officials.

In an earlier interview with “Face the Nation,” Pence said the administration believes people should wear masks wherever it’s called for by state or local authorities.

In a Sunday interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warned “the window is closing” to take action to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“We have to act and people and individuals need to act responsibly,” he said. “We need to social distance, we need to wear face coverings if we are in settings where we cannot social distance, particularly in these hot zones.”

President Donald Trump has generally refused to wear a mask in public settings, though he did wear one during a private tour of a Ford plant in Michigan weeks ago.

The Trump administration’s waffling stance on face-coverings has drawn criticism from both sides of the aisle.

“The President should be an example. You know, real men wear masks,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday. “Be an example to the country and wear the mask. … It’s not about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting others and their families.”

“Right now, we are in an urgent national mission, or should be, to mask up,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, said on “Face the Nation.” “And the fact is that Donald Trump is for masking up like George Wallace was for integration.”

Speaking with CBS Pittsburgh affiliate KDKA on Thursday, former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, said, “The one thing we do know, these masks make a gigantic difference.”

“I would insist that everybody in public be wearing that mask,” he said.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., tweeted a photo of her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, on Friday wearing a cowboy hat and mask along with the caption “Dick Cheney says WEAR A MASK. #realmenwearmasks.”

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