Trump and his allies have politicized wearing masks, but the vast majority of Americans say they cover their faces to prevent the spread of COVID-19
President Donald Trump and many of his allies have politicized the issue of wearing masks or face-coverings, a practice that helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. In over half a dozen recent national surveys, however, overwhelmingly majorities of Americans, Republicans, and those who support Trump, say they always or regularly wear masks in public. Trump has generally refused to wear a mask in public, going against the advice of his own administration. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, on Wednesday strongly urged Americans to wear masks as a public health measure and as a sign of respect.
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President Donald Trump and many of his allies have politicized the issue of wearing masks or face-coverings, a practice that helps prevent the spread of COVID-19, but polling has repeatedly shown that most Americans — including Republicans and Trump's supporters — are in favor of the practice. Americans across the political spectrum overwhelmingly report regularly wearing masks:
An exhaustive nationwide survey of over 22,000 Americans in all 50 states conducted from April 17-26 by a team of researchers from Harvard, Northeastern, and Rutgers found that 75% of Americans and 70% of Republicans said they somewhat closely or very closely follow government guidelines to wear masks outside their homes. In a national survey of over 2,220 Americans conducted April 14-21 by political scientists Gabriel Sanchez and Edward Vargas with the online polling firm Lucid, 73% of Democrats and 59% of Republicans said they had worn a mask or face-covering in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A Fox News national poll of 1,200 registered voters conducted from May 17-20 found that 72% of all Americans, 60% of Republicans, and 61% of those who voted for Trump in 2016 said they wear masks in public all or most of the time. A Democracy Fund and UCLA Nationscape survey of 4,576 registered voters conducted May 7-14 found that 84% of all Americans and 81% of Republicans say they have worn a mask in public in response to the coronavirus crisis. A Politico/Morning Consult national tracking poll of 1,986 registered voters conducted May 22-26 found that 81% of all Americans and 71% of those who say they strongly approve of Trump's job performance said they are very or somewhat likely to wear a mask in public spaces. In a CBS News and YouGov poll of 2,000 Americans conducted May 11-13, 69% of Americans said they wear a mask or face covering all or most of the time they leave their homes. A Huffington Post/YouGov poll conducted May 14-16 found that 69% of Americans and 66% of Republicans say they wear a mask in public places around other people, like in grocery stores, all or most of the time.
The same poll also found that 83% of Americans and 76% of Republicans say they believe wearing a mask in public is not a sign of weakness. Sixty-nine percent of Americans and 58% of Republicans said they believe wearing a mask is a sign of respectfulness.
Trump and some of his allies have implied that wearing a mask in a sign of weakness Though members of the US public say they regularly cover their faces, the rhetoric emanating from the president and some of his allies on this topic makes the issue seem far more divided along political lines than it is in reality. Trump has generally refused to wear a mask in public, going against the advice of his own administration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges the US public to cover their mouth and nose "with a cloth face cover when around others." "Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities," the CDC's website states. But Trump, who is extremely image-conscious, seemingly views mask-wearing as a sign of weakness. Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that Trump is worried that wearing a mask in public would hurt his re-election chances. And in a May 21 visit to a Ford Motors plant in Michigan, Trumponly wore a mask in a private tour of the factory with a few of the company's executives, but took it off when being photographed and taking questions from the press. In recent days, Trump has mocked his 2020 opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, for wearing a mask in public on Memorial Day. On Tuesday, Trump mocked Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason for wearing a mask during a press conference in the Rose Garden, accusing the reporter of attempting to be "politically correct" by covering his face.
"You want to be politically correct" -- Trump asks @jeffmason1 to take his mask off then disses him when he refuses to do so pic.twitter.com/ALhIY9n5e2 — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 26, 2020
And Trump on Thursday shared a tweet from the right-wing publication The Federalist which suggested masks are not about public health but "social control" and that they represent "silence, slavery, and social death." Meanwhile, Fox News' Laura Ingraham, who often defends the Trump administration on her show, has repeatedly sought to sow doubt about the efficacy of masks, painting the call for people to cover their faces as a media plot designed to spread fear. Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University and staunch Trump supporter, on Wednesday said he'll only wear a mask if it features an image of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in blackface. Not all of Trump's allies are pushing against mask-wearing, however, as Fox News' Sean Hannity recently chastised people in Missouri for partying without social distancing or masks over Memorial Day weekend. Responding to footage of the partygoers in the Midwestern state that was widely shared on social media, Hannity said, "There's no mask-wearing here that I see ... I see no social distancing. But if they get the virus and they're in contact with older, more vulnerable Americans, that could be a disaster for others ... If you can't social distance, please wear the mask for your mom, dad, grandma, grandpa. My humble advice."
Hannity on Lake of The Ozarks Video: There’s no mask wearing here that I see... I see no social distancing. But if they get the virus and they’re in contact with older more vulnerable Americans, that could be a disaster... Please wear the mask for your mom, dad, grandma, grandpa pic.twitter.com/C8UGhTd7aH — Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) May 27, 2020
Medical experts say wearing a face covering drastically reduces the risk of transmission Public health experts have emphasized the importance of wearing masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, which is easily transmitted by asymptomatic carriers who aren't aware they have the disease. The CDC estimates that as many as 35% of those infected show no symptoms. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, on Wednesday strongly urged Americans to wear masks for public health purposes and as a sign of respect. "I want to protect myself and protect others, and also because I want to make it be a symbol for people to see that that's the kind of thing you should be doing," Fauci said during a CNN interview. Though experts are still debating how effective masks are in mitigating the spread of the virus, research has shown that it can drastically reduce infections. Researchers in Hong Kong, for example, recently conducted experiments that found that the transmission rate of coronavirus via respiratory droplets or airborne particles dropped by roughly 75% when masks were used. "The findings implied to the world and the public is that the effectiveness of mask-wearing against the coronavirus pandemic is huge," Dr. Yuen Kwok-yung, a top microbiologist at Hong Kong University, said regarding the study's findings. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How waste is dealt with on the world's largest cruise ship
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If nearly all Americans would wear face masks when they leave their homes, they could save...If nearly all Americans would wear face masks when they leave their homes, they could save over 100,000 lives by the end of February, a study says.
Trump criticizes Biden at town hall for not issuing a national mask mandate — but Biden as a candidate has no authority to do so
Summary List Placement President Donald Trump criticized his Democratic presidential rival, Joe Biden, on Tuesday evening...Summary List Placement President Donald Trump criticized his Democratic presidential rival, Joe Biden, on Tuesday evening for failing to enforce a national mask mandate — but Biden, as a candidate, has no authority to do so. Trump leveled the attack after being asked by a voter during an ABC News town hall why he had not supported universal mask-wearing. "A good question is, you ask, like Joe Biden. They said, 'We're going to do a national mandate on masks,'" Trump said Tuesday evening. "But he didn't do it, I mean, he never did it." Trump was referring to a policy promise that Biden stressed last month as part of his plan to fight the pandemic if elected. Biden has since walked back on the idea from a federal level, citing potential constitutionality issues, and instead said he would encourage governors to do so and lead by example by wearing face coverings publicly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has heavily recommended mask use when in public and around people who don't live in your household to help prevent coronavirus transmission. The nation's top infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has also pushed for universal mask-wearing. Trump's messaging on masks has largely focused on allowing people to choose whether to wear them. During an indoor rally in Nevada on Sunday, his campaign required only attendees standing behind him — in view of TV cameras — to wear face coverings. Trump reiterated his standpoint Tuesday evening, arguing that "a lot of people don't want to wear masks." "Who are those people?" the ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos asked. "I'll tell you who those people are — waiters," Trump responded. "They come over and they serve you and they have a mask. And I saw it the other day where they were serving me, and they're playing with the mask — I'm not blaming them, I'm just saying what happens — they're playing with the mask, so the mask is over, and they're touching it. And then they're touching the plate. That can't be good." A majority of Americans — Democrats and Republicans alike — say they support regular mask-wearing and do so in their daily lives, according to recent public polling.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's what you're actually seeing when you spot a meteor shower
Trump, who dismissed and refused to wear a face mask for months, now says wearing one is 'patriotic' like him
President Donald Trump has suggested he was "patriotic" for wearing a face mask — after months...President Donald Trump has suggested he was "patriotic" for wearing a face mask — after months of refusing to do so during the coronavirus pandemic. Trump had long pushed back against mandatory mask orders, and said he didn't need to wear one. He wore one in full display of the media for the first — and so far, only — time, while touring the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center earlier this month. On Monday he shared a picture of himself wearing a mask at what appears to be that event, adding: "Many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask" and "There is nobody more Patriotic than me." Sources told CNN that Trump was persuaded to encourage mask wearing when shown evidence that Americans don't approve of his response to the virus. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. President Donald Trump has connected wearing a face mask with being "patriotic," marking his clearest endorsement of the step yet after months of mixed messages and refusing to wear one himself. Trump tweeted a picture of himself wearing a mask on Monday night, adding: "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!" 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! pic.twitter.com/iQOd1whktN — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2020 His tweet called the novel coronavirus the "China virus," repeating his controversial nickname for the disease that has been met with widespread criticism for connecting people of Chinese descent with the virus. Trump has only been pictured wearing a mask in public and in front of the press once since the pandemic began — while he toured the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. The picture tweeted by Trump on Monday appears to be from this event. Trump told Fox News Sunday that he wore the mask as he did not want to "spread anything" to the soldiers. But there may have been another motive. An unnamed official who was at the event told CNN that the president decided to wear a mask after being shown data indicating that Americans did not approve of Trump's response to the virus. Another advisor told CNN that Trump agreed to wear the mask after heavy "pleading" from aides, and that Trump had not wanted to be seen to be relenting to media pressure. While Trump has not wholly criticized medical advice that people should wear masks, he has repeatedly said that it was not necessary for him, as he is protected and regularly tested, and pushed back against making them mandatory. Trump had long avoided wearing one, and he reportedly believed that doing so would make him look ridiculous and harm his reelection chances. In May, the White House made all West Wing staffers to wear masks in the building, but the rule did not apply to Trump. Trump also went on to public events without wearing one. He was criticized in May for touring a Honeywell factory without wearing a mask, though he said he wore one "backstage," where no cameras were present. He also didn't wear one to tour a Ford factory, where he also said he wore on where the media could not see him, saying "I didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it." In June, Trump said he believed that some Americans were wearing masks to show that they disapprove of him. On July 1, Trump said he was "all for masks," but was critical of the idea of mandatory face mask orders. In the Fox News Sunday interview, Trump dismissed Centers for Disease Control predictions that the virus could soon be brought under control if everyone wore masks. "I don't agree with the statement that if everybody wear a mask everything disappears," he said. "All of sudden everybody's got to wear a mask, and as you know masks cause problems, too." But he later added: "With that being said, I'm a believer in masks. I think masks are good." Vice President Mike Pence, who chairs the White House coronavirus task force, also told a meeting with governors on Monday that wearing masks and social distancing "dramatically decrease the rate of community spread," according to a recording obtained by The Daily Beast. In refusing to wear masks, Trump had stood out against other world leaders, and his presidential election rival Democrat Joe Biden. In late May, Trump shared a tweet mocking Biden for wearing a face mask at a public Memorial Day appearance.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: We tested a machine that brews beer at the push of a button