White House considering having public cover faces to limit COVID-19 spread

The Trump administration is formalizing new guidance to recommend that many, if not almost all, Americans wear…

The Trump administration is formalizing new guidance to recommend that many, if not almost all, Americans wear face coverings when leaving home, in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

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.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the proposed guidance before its public release.

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Trump on Tuesday indicated he would support such a recommendation, potentially even for all Americans regardless of where they live. “I would say do it, but use a scarf if you want, you know, rather than going out and getting a mask or whatever.”

“It’s not a bad idea, at least for a period of time,” he added.

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.

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