Trump says some wear coronavirus masks ‘to signal disapproval of him’


People wait in a line around the block for a pop-up food pantry amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Chelsea, Massachusetts, April 17, 2020.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

President Donald Trump said some Americans might wear face masks not as a way to prevent the spread of coronavirus but as a way to “signal disapproval of him.”

In a wide-ranging interview with the Wall Street Journal that published Thursday, Trump also said a big issue he has with masks is that people fidget with them.

“They put their finger on the mask, and they take them off, and then they start touching their eyes and touching their nose and their mouth,” he told the Journal. “And then they don’t know how they caught it?”

Trump has often been seen without a mask despite recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization that people wear them as a way to slow the spread of the virus. Scientists say the virus can spread through respiratory droplets that pass when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Studies suggest the masks may serve as a helpful barrier.

The comment by Trump came as coronavirus cases begin to rise in nearly two dozen states since Memorial Day. Public health experts fear a slow burn of infection through the summer could lead to a massive resurgence this fall alongside the seasonal flu. Trump has frequently downplayed the virus, telling the Journal the U.S. was nearing the end of the pandemic. 

Read the full Journal interview here.


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