- The Trump administration urged Americans to cover their faces in public
- The US has also limited exports of medical supplies Friday
- New York's governor took his own dramatic step to fight the coronavirus, vowing to seize unused ventilators from private hospitals and companies
- President Trump announced new guidelines that call for everyone to wear makeshift face coverings such as T-shirts and bandannas when leaving the house, especially in areas hit hard by the pandemic
NEW YORK (AP): The Trump administration urged Americans to cover their faces in public and limited exports of medical supplies Friday as New York's governor took his own dramatic step to fight the coronavirus - vowing to seize unused ventilators from private hospitals and companies.
President Donald Trump announced new guidelines that call for everyone to wear makeshift face coverings such as T-shirts and bandannas when leaving the house, especially in areas hit hard by the pandemic, like New York. But the president said he had no intention of following the advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It's a recommendation, they recommend it," Trump told reporters. "I just don't want to wear one myself."
The change comes amid concerns from health officials that those without symptoms can spread the virus, especially in places like grocery stores or pharmacies. Officials stressed that medical-grade masks should be reserved for health workers and others on the front lines of the pandemic, with critical equipment in short supply.
The White House said that ther US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will recommend that Americans cover their faces when outside, which President Donald Trump called "voluntary".
Trump said the CDC is advising the use of clotho face coverings on a voluntary basis.
"The CDC is advising the use of nonmedical cloth face covering as a voluntary health measure," Trump said during his Friday briefing. "It is voluntary. They suggested for a period of time. This is voluntary.”
“The CDC is not recommending the use of medical grade or surgical grade masks," he added, noting things such as the N95 respirators need to be saved for medical professionals.
The country has been dealing with a dire shortage of critical protective gear, including masks and gloves for medical professionals. Many Americans already have been opting to cover their noses and mouths with makeshift masks, including bandannas, scarves or other wraps.
However, Trump said he will not follow that guidance.
"I just don't want to wear one myself, it's a recommendation," he said. "Somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute Desk, the great Resolute Desk, I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, dictators, kings, queens, I don't know, I don't see it for myself."
Trump stressed that Americans should still follow the administration's social distancing guidelines. Surgeon General Jerome Adams also said hygiene is still important, particularly before putting on the mask.
"If you choose to wear a face covering, wash your hands first," he said.
Trump also lashed out at Weijia Jiang, a White House correspondent for CBS News, at Friday's briefing. He told her she "ought to be ashamed" of herself and chided her for having a "nasty tone" after she asked for clarity about White House adviser Jared Kushner's comments about the federal government's ventilator stockpile.
At Thursday's briefing, Kushner was pressed on why states were bidding on ventilators rather than the federal government sending them. "The notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile. It's not supposed to be states' stockpiles that they then use," Kushner said.
Trump doubled down at Friday's briefing.
"Because we need it for the government, the federal government," Trump said about Kushner's comments. "The federal government needs to it too, not just the states."
Vice President Mike Pence addressed the potential for a mask advisory based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at Thursday's daily briefing on the pandemic.
He said the new guidance, based on "consultation and advice from the CDC and top health experts," would come "in the days ahead."
Bloomberg reported the expected guidelines on Thursday.
Trump said during a news briefing on April 2 that he invoked the Defense Production Act to get 3M Company to produce more masks. Trump has previously invoked the act and other measures to get the private sector to ramp up the production of ventilators and respirators.