Donald Trump wears a face mask in public for the first time

Agence France-Presse
·1-min read
US President Donald Trump wears a mask as he visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland - ALEX EDELMAN/AFP
US President Donald Trump wears a mask as he visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland - ALEX EDELMAN/AFP

US President Donald Trump wore a face mask in public for the first time on Saturday, finally yielding to intense pressure to set a public health example as coronavirus rampages across America.

Mr Trump wore a black mask as he walked through the corridors of Walter Reed military hospital outside Washington to meet with wounded veterans.

He walked past reporters and did not stop to speak to them about what had become a hotly anticipated moment - his possible change of heart on a practice recommended by the government's own medical experts, even as he resisted.

"I think it's a great thing to wear a mask. I've never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place," Mr Trump said as he left the White House.

News reports this week said aides practically begged the President to relent and wear a mask in public - and let himself be photographed wearing it - as coronavirus cases soar in some states and as Mr Trump trails Democrat Joe Biden badly in polls ahead of the November election.

Mr Trump has steadfastly defended his administration's handling of the pandemic even though the US is the hardest-hit country in the world.

The country has recently seen several days of more than 60,000 new cases, nearly 135,000 people have died and states have been left to figure out on their own how to reopen without a clear and coherent strategy from the White House.

Coronavirus USA Spotlight Chart - cases default
Coronavirus USA Spotlight Chart - cases default