COVID-19

Coronavirus surge prompts Mike Pence to reverse course and say wearing a mask ‘is a good idea’

After months of forgoing wearing a mask in public as the coronavirus pandemic continued to spread, Vice President Mike Pence is now spreading the message that wearing a mask is a “good idea.”

Pence spoke Sunday at a briefing with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, whose state’s new COVID-19 cases have soared to about 6,000 a day after Texas reopened in late May.

“If your local officials, in consultation with the state, are directing you to wear a mask, we encourage everyone to wear a mask in the affected areas. And where you can’t maintain social distancing, wearing a mask is just a good idea,” Pence said. “And it will, we know, from experience, will slow the spread of the coronavirus.”

Later that day, however, Pence led an indoor rally at First Baptist Church in Dallas with around 2,200 people. Reports say face masks were “strongly encouraged,” although around half of the attendees complied. At one point during the rally, a choir of over 100 people sang while standing closely together without masks. According to the CDC, choirs are considered a “super-spreader” of the virus due to the fact that singing expels respiratory droplets that can infect people in close proximity.

The Trump administration has maintained that it will leave it up to individual states to enact mandates regarding wearing masks in public.

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