Tue, 11 Aug 2020

US Surgeon General Urges Everyone to Wear Masks

Voice of America
13 Jul 2020, 16:05 GMT+10

The top U.S. health official is urging everyone to wear a mask when out in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but he stopped short of saying there needs to be a nationwide mandate.

A day after President Donald Trump was seen for the first time wearing a face covering in public, Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on CBS's Face the Nation Sunday that people need to be educated on why it is important to cover their faces instead of the "big brother" approach.

"As surgeon general, I want people to understand why they should wear a face covering, and they are going to be more likely to do it and more likely to do it willingly, and they're going to be more likely to do it when we are not watching, which is important," Adams said.

Dr. Adams said the Trump administration is working hard to walk back its earlier message on masks, which was that they aren't necessary.

Trump himself has wavered between mocking those who wear face masks and saying he doesn't see anything wrong with it.

He was pictured wearing one Saturday during a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

"When you're in a hospital, especially ... I think it's a great thing to wear a mask," he said.

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It will be mandatory to wear a mask in public starting Monday in Croatia and in four Spanish regions - Andalusia, Aragon, La Rioja and Navarre.

Andalusian leader Juan Manuel Moreno said authorities there fear an influx of tourists will walk through the streets and enter restaurants of the popular vacation spot mask-free.

Spain has been one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus. It began easing lockdowns last month. But some local authorities are starting to reimpose restrictions as a growing number of new cases sparks fears of a second wave.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a renewed ban on the sale of alcohol and a new nighttime curfew Sunday as the number of new COVID-19 cases grows. South Africa has the most cases in Africa.

Ramaphosa said in a televised address that hospitals and doctors don't have the facilities and time to deal with alcohol-related injuries right now.

"This is a fight to save every life, and we need to save every bed," he said. "The coronavirus storm is far fiercer and more destructive than any we have known."

South Africa lifted its two-month-long ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks last month, in part because breweries and vintners complained.

Mexico is on the verge of overtaking Italy for fourth place on the list of nations with the most COVID-19 deaths, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University.

Both countries have a little less than 35,000 deaths. But some Mexican health officials say they believe the death toll is much higher because of a lack of testing.

The United States, with 135,000 deaths as of Sunday, is far ahead of all other countries.

Florida set the nationwide record for the most new cases in 24 hours Saturday - 15,299.

Cases have been rising across the Southern and Western U.S., in part because of what New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy calls "knucklehead behavior" - people balking at wearing masks and social distancing.

One group of workers in Germany is demanding the government reopen their businesses - brothels.

Prostitutes demonstrated in Hamburg, saying other industries have been allowed to operate again and they should be permitted to go back to work, too.

"The oldest profession needs your help," read a sign held up by one of the protesters who says brothels are just as hygienic as massage parlors, beauty shops, and nightclubs.

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