Trump calls face masks ‘patriotic’ as U.S. coronavirus cases top 3.8 million

After months of declining to wear a face covering at public events amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted saying it is “patriotic” to wear a face mask.

“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,” Trump wrote. “There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President.”

The president was spotted wearing a facemask in public for the first time earlier this month at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre in Washington, D.C., where he met wounded service members and health care providers caring for COVID-19 patients.

Read more: Coronavirus: Trump wears face mask for first time during a public appearance

As he departed the White House, Trump told reporters: “When you’re in a hospital, especially … I think it’s a great thing to wear a mask.”

Before the event in Washington, Trump had declined to wear a mask at public events including news conferences, rallies and during updates from the coronavirus task force.

0:43 Coronavirus: Trump wears face mask in public for the first time since pandemic began

Coronavirus: Trump wears face mask in public for the first time since pandemic began

Trump has also repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as the “China virus.”

The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China in December.

Since it was discovered, the virus has infected more than 14.6 million people around the world, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

Read more: ‘Petulant’ Trump wears coronavirus mask in private, but avoids photos at Ford plant

The United States remained the epicenter of the virus on Monday, with more than 3.8 million confirmed cases.

So far, 140,811 people in the U.S. have died as a result of COVID-19.

— With a file from The Associated Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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