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CDC now recommends Americans cover faces when outside; Trump calls it ‘voluntary’

President Donald Trump.Alex Brandon/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The White House says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that Americans cover their faces when leaving the home, especially around other people. But President Donald Trump is calling it “voluntary” and says he himself won’t wear a mask.

Says Trump: “I’m choosing not to do it.”

The latest guidance suggests that Americans use makeshift coverings, such as T-shirts, scarves or bandanas to cover their noses and mouths. Medical-grade masks, especially N95 masks, are to be reserved for those on the front lines of trying to contain the pandemic.

The policy change comes as public health officials are concerned that those without symptoms can spread the virus which causes COVID-19.


Trump is also directing FEMA to prevent export of N95 masks and surgical gloves under the Defense Production Act.

Trump says the move is necessary to assure that the medical supplies are available for domestic medical use.

The move comes one day after the White House announced Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to compel Minnesota-based 3M to make as many N95 masks as the Federal Emergency Management Agency determines are needed.

Trump also announced Friday that his administration is encouraging many Americans to wear face masks in public. He stressed that the recommendation is optional and is conceding he will not be complying with it.