Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus

White House will offer new guidelines advising Americans to wear masks

Wearing masks is about to become the new normal. Photo by @Maria_Sbytova via Twenty20

After telling Americans masks were not needed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, President Donald Trump said today that new guidelines were coming that would advise, but not force the wearing of masks.

“I don’t think they’ll be mandatory because some people don’t want to do that,” he said.

Trump would not give a date as to when these new guidelines would be available, but the White House task force is struggling with even whether to call them masks or face coverings. They worry that it will lull Americans into believing that this is enough protection against the virus.

“It is not a substitute for the presidential guidelines (on social distancing) that have already gone out,” said Deborah Birx, a member of the task force at the press conference . “Don’t get a false sense of security that that mask is protecting you exclusively from getting infected.”

Meanwhile the coronavirus continues to wreck havoc.  

As many as 25 percent of Americans could be infected and show no symptoms. The government predicts 100,000 to 240, 000 Americans could die during the pandemic. Roughly  175,000 are infected in the U.S, and  about 3,500 have died. In just two weeks 10 million Amerians have lost their jobs.

Trump, who also took another coronavirus test which was negative, said the virus will be slowed in 30 days. The test administered was a new test that can provide results in 15 minutes. He said he took the test out of curiosity. 

“I just took it this morning.” he said And it too it, it took me literally a minute to take t and it took me I guess itv was 14 or 15 minutes ( for results). I went to work. I didn’t wait for it.

Trump waved the results at reporters during the briefing.

He also is angered by a new Congressional oversight committee to monitor the virus response.

“Here we go again, he said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said  in his press briefing New York State  has only enough ventilators to last six days.. There have been 3,000 deaths and almost 93,000 reported cases. 

He said that his call for healthcare workers has been answered by out-of-state volunteers. 

“About 21,000 healthcare workers have come out to New York to volunteer at hospitals,” he said. “When your community needs help, New Yorkers will be there. You have my word on that.” 

Hospitals are employing methods such as splitting ventilators, using anesthesia machines, and calling companies to acquire equipment. 

Cuomo’s call for supplies has been answered by some private companies. Yesterday, Apple donated masks to New York. 

He urged companies that can manufacture personal protective equipment, like gloves and masks to contact the New York State Government. He said they will pay premiums to companies that can quickly supply medical equipment. 

“We need beds, staff, and supplies to provide any care,” he said. “We need all three of those components to work to have a situation to give someone care. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” 


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