U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that Americans wear cloth face covering to protect against COVID-19.
"The CDC is advising the use of non-medical cloth face covering as a voluntary health measure," Trump told a White House briefing. "It is voluntary. They suggested for a period of time."
However, Trump said he would not wear mask.
The CDC said in a release the recommendations were based on recent studies that significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms, and that even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.
"In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission," said the release.
Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure, said the CDC.
Trump said the CDC is not recommending the use of medical grade or surgical grade masks, noting those supplies such as the N95 respirators need to be saved for medical professionals.
He stressed that Americans should still follow the administration's social distancing guidelines.
It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus, said the CDC.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has topped over 275,586 as of 19:00 Friday, with over 7,087 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.