On Friday, the United States saw the highest single-day fatalities due to the deadly COVID-19 with 1,480 deaths in the last 24 hours. Following this grim figure, US authorities announced “voluntary” use of face masks in public in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the world by the throat.
The total number of cases in America continues to rise even as life in China, where the virus originated last December, goes back to normalcy. There are 277,000 confirmed cases and 7,141 fatalities in the US, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker late Friday evening.
New York remains the country's epicenter with the highest number of cases-- 1,03,000 cases, a tenth of the world total of 1 million cases. New York City alone recorded 1,867 deaths due to the novel virus. The city is also plagued by a shortage of medical supplies, and officials have warned of empty racks by this weekend.
Washington state, that reported the first COVID-19 death of the country has managed to slow the spread of the highly infectious virus with strict social distancing policies.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whose social-distancing guidelines have served as the template for the shutdown of all but a handful of US states, recommended on Friday that all citizens should wear masks in public, as announced by President Donald Trump at the daily brief of the White House coronavirus task force, citing studies that show the “transmission from individuals without symptoms is playing a more significant role in the spread of the virus than previously understood”.
“In light of these studies, the CDC is advising the use of non-medical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure,” the president said, and added, infusing the new recommendation with his characteristic skepticism about the virus.,
“So it’s voluntary; you don’t have to do it. They suggested for a period of time. But this is voluntary.” And, he added, severely undermining the credibility of the move, “I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”