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Coronavirus: Trump to defy 'voluntary' advice for Americans to wear masks

 He could not see himself greeting "presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens" in the Oval Office while wearing one, he said.

He stressed that the guidance released on Friday was "voluntary".

"You do not have to do it," he said. "I don't think I'm going to be doing it."

The guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the government's public health advisory agency, came as the US reported more than 1,100 deaths in a single day - the highest total for a 24-hour period anywhere in the world.

The US has so far confirmed 278,458 cases of Covid-19 and more than 7,000 deaths, Latest USA News according to Johns Hopkins University.

New York state remains the worst affected area, with nearly 3,000 deaths, and state governor Andrew Cuomo has appealed for help from other parts of the country.



Until now, US health authorities had said that only the sick, or those caring for patients of coronavirus, should wear masks, but newer studies suggest that covering up one's face is important to prevent inadvertent transmission.

"From recent studies we know that the transmission from individuals without symptoms is playing a more significant role in the spread of the virus than previously understood," Mr Trump said on Friday.

However, he told reporters after announcing the CDC's new guidance: "I just don't want to do it myself."

"Sitting in the Oval Office... I somehow don't see it for myself."

Americans are now advised to use clean cloth or fabric to cover their faces whilst in public. Officials have stressed that medical masks remain in short supply, and should be left for healthcare workers.

What else did the president say?
Mr Trump announced the CDC's guidance at the White House daily coronavirus briefing, but repeatedly emphasised that the advisory was "voluntary".

"You don't have to do it," he said. "I'm choosing not to do it, but some people may want to do it and that's OK. It may be good. Probably will."

Asked why, he said: "I just don't want to be doing [that], Press Release Distribution Service 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, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don't know somehow I don't see it for myself. I just don't. Maybe I'll change my mind."

The president was pressed on US disease readiness, the federal government stimulus package, and whether the pandemic will disrupt the 2020 presidential election on 3 November.

Mr Trump insisted that his government's response has saved lives, and that the election will not be delayed.

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