Pence says at Mayo Clinic he would have worn face mask

Pence says at Mayo Clinic he would have worn face mask

United States Vice President Mike Pence said on Sunday that he made a mistake when meeting patients at the Mayo Clinic last month in not wearing a face mask.

Critics blasted Pence's decision not to wear a mask, claiming it undermined attempts to curb the spreading of the respiratory disease that has caused more than 67,000 deaths in the US. Pence leads an anti-coronavirus campaign by the Trump's administration.

During an appearance on Fox News at a city hall event with President Donald Trump, Pence said that while he did not think he posed a danger to anyone, he would still have worn the mask expected of all patients and visitors at the Minnesota healthcare facility.

“I didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic,” he said.

On the April tour, Pence was pictured as the only person who does not wear a face mask alongside patients and healthcare professionals. He had already championed the decision, citing United States Guidelines for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say a mask helps mainly to discourage wearers from spreading the virus, not to protect against it.

Pence had said that he and Trump were regularly screened for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and was assured that it posed no risk.

He said on Sunday that wear the mask also carries important symbolic weight beyond its public health purpose.

“It’s really a statement about the American people, the way they have been willing to step forward, practice social distancing and wear masks in settings where they can’t do that,” he said.

Image: Vice President Mike Pence visits Dennis Nelson, a recovered COVID-19 disease patient who is now donating his blood for research on the virus and disease as Pence tours Mayo Clinic facilities supporting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) research and treatment in Rochester, Minnesota, U.S., April 28, 2020.