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OUR OPINION: Trump joins ranks of face mask advocates

OUR OPINION: Trump joins ranks of face mask advocates

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In a "better-late-than-never" development on Monday, President Trump gave a boost to face mask use by tweeting an image of himself wearing one - more than three months after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended everyone wear a mask when they go out in public.

No hoax.

"We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can't socially distance," Trump tweeted. "There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!"

In additional hopeful signs the Trump administration acknowledges today's troubling realities in America's war against COVID-19, the assistant secretary of health on Monday recognized the obvious fact "There is no question we are having a surge right now" and President Trump said on Monday he will make himself available for coronavirus questions at daily briefings again.

We don't know if an epiphany or a political calculation led President Trump to endorse face masks in strong, visible fashion after months of, let's be honest, lukewarm support of them at best, but we welcome his change in attitude because he wields influence on the behavior of many Americans who take their cues from him.

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said in the Journal of the American Medical Association earlier this month. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

That’s a message President Trump should keep repeating loudly and clearly.

To the extent his words and actions lead to more of us wearing protective face coverings, the safer all of us will be.

Our Opinion editorials represent the consensus view of The Sioux City Journal editorial board. Members of the board include: Bruce Miller, editor; Michael Gors, editorial page editor; Dave Dreeszen; managing editor; Tim Hynds, chief photographer.

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