President Trump posted a photo of himself wearing a face mask on Monday and tweeted that "many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance."
Why it matters: It's the first time Trump has ever tweeted a picture of himself in a mask, which he had not worn in public until he visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center earlier this month.
- Trump told Fox News' Chris Wallace in an interview broadcast Sunday that he will not consider a national mask mandate because he wants Americans to have "a certain freedom," adding: "I don't agree with the statement that if everybody wear a mask everything disappears."
- The president also told Axios last month that he believes masks are a "double-edged sword" and appeared to mock his opponent Joe Biden for wearing a mask in public as recently as May.
What he's tweeting: "We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!"
The big picture: After months of a partisan debate over wearing masks, two-thirds of Americans — and a noticeably increasing number of Republicans — now say they’re wearing a face mask whenever they leave the house, according to the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.
- Scientific evidence shows face masks can help control the spread of the coronavirus, but the nuances and changes in messaging about their use have complicated public health efforts.
- The changing attitudes on masks come as coronavirus infections surge across much of the country, threatening to overwhelm hospital systems in Republican-led states like Florida, Arizona and Texas.
- CDC director Robert Redfield has said the coronavirus outbreak could be "under control" within four to eight weeks if everyone in the U.S. wore masks.