His request to wear a universal mask went beyond the observations made so far by Trump or Vice President Mike Pence, who have largely avoided discussing public health precautions. Both, especially Trump, have generally avoided wearing masks in public.
Yet Azar echoed many of the same talking points that Pence did during Friday’s HHS press conference by minimizing the severity of the outbreaks of revival, pointing out that a large percentage of new infections are less likely to be hospitalized in young people . Azar also noted that doctors know more about treating the virus now than at the start of the pandemic and have some medications that appear to help some seriously ill patients.
At that press conference, the first of the White House coronavirus task force in two months, the vice president refused to recommend the masks even when asked directly. It also downplayed the outbreaks ̵
But by holding the event at HHS rather than in the White House and including only health officials – compared to previous meetings dominated by Trump, his economic advisers and CEOs friendly with the administration – the task force underlined the seriousness of the current moment, when the country seems to lose ground after weeks after emerging from painful blockages.