Vice President Mike Pence now admits he should have worn a mask on his visit to the Mayo Clinic last week. Pence came under heavy scrutiny on Tuesday when he was filmed touring the esteemed medical facility without a face mask on. In a virtual town hall on Fox News on Sunday, he admitted that this was a mistake.
"I didn't think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic," Pence said this weekend, according to a report by Politico. The Vice President added that he "wore it when [he] visited the ventilator plant in Indiana" two days later. Pence initially defended his decision not to wear a face mask last week, when he was the only person in the footage of his visit who was not wearing one. At the time, Pence said that he did not need a mask because he was tested for the coronavirus so often.
Pence's visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, was widely televised last week. He visited with doctors, nurses and other frontline health care workers, as well as many patients. All of them wore either surgical masks or N95 respirators, yet Pence did not. His explanation for this when asked did not satisfy many viewers.
"As Vice President of the United States I'm tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus," Pence said, according to a report by The Daily Mail. "And since I don't have the coronavirus, I thought it'd be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers these incredible healthcare personnel and look them in the eye and say thank you."
The Mayo Clinic requires all visitors to wear a face mask while inside the building, and it provides them for those who do not bring their own. In a since-deleted tweet, the official Mayo Clinic Twitter account noted that it informed Pence of this requirement ahead of time, yet he still refused the mask he was offered.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that all Americans wear some kind of face mask while in public — even cloth face coverings for those without access to masks. The masks are intended to protect those around the wearer from any saliva that might leave their mouth while coughing, sneezing or even just talking. For the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.