Coronavirus Live Updates: Trump Wears Mask Publicly for First Time

Amid growing calls for masks, Trump wears one publicly for the first time.

President Trump on Saturday wore a mask in public for the first time, after repeated urging from aides that it was a necessary message to send to Americans.

Mr. Trump wore a dark mask affixed with the presidential seal during a visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He was surrounded by Secret Service agents and others also wearing masks.

The president had repeatedly dismissed suggestions that he should wear a face covering, frequently appearing in public spaces without one, mocking those who did and ignoring public health rules in several states.

But Mr. Trump had signaled recently that he was more open to masks and told reporters before the visit to the medical center that he planned to wear one.

“I think when you’re in a hospital, especially in that particular setting where you’re talking to a lot of soldiers and people that in some cases just got off the operating tables,” Mr. Trump said. “I think it’s a great thing to wear a mask. I’ve never been against masks, but I do believe they have a time and a place.”

In contrast to Mr. Trump’s reluctance, a growing number of governors, both Republican and Democratic, and even Vice President Mike Pence have taken up the cause in recent weeks.

Several Republican senators — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Mitt Romney of Utah — have also said the president should wear face coverings, at least as a symbolic gesture.

In an interview this month, Mr. Trump said he “would wear one if I were in a group of people and I was close,” adding that he “sort of liked” the way he looked.

“It was a dark black mask,” he said at the time, “and I thought it looked OK. I looked like the Lone Ranger.”

On a day when India reported more than 28,000 new coronavirus infections, one case in particular caught the whole country’s attention: Amitabh Bachchan, a Bollywood star and one of India’s most revered figures.

Mr. Bachchan, known as Big B, announced on Saturday to his 43 million followers on Twitter that he had tested positive and urged his recent contacts to get tested themselves. His son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter have also become infected. All appear to have only mild symptoms.

India is now racking up more new reported infections each day than any other country except the United States and Brazil. It also has the third-highest total number of infections after those same two countries, with about 850,000 confirmed cases and more than 22,000 deaths. Hospitals in India are overflowing to the point that pregnant women have died in labor after being turned away.

The surge has led officials around India to reimpose restrictions after attempting to loosen things up to stimulate a critically wounded economy. The borders between states are being rigorously patrolled, and international travel is still closed. But the density of India’s population makes it difficult to practice social distancing in cities like Mumbai, home to Mr. Bachchan.

It’s hard to overstate how famous Big B is, having appeared in more than 200 films over the past 50 years.

“He’s like god,” said Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, a filmmaker who has worked with him. “I’ve never seen a star having such power, such credibility. He’s the biggest superstar this country has ever, ever seen.”

Mr. Bachchan’s illness may create more fear across India. But Mr. Dungarpur predicted that many Indians would find his struggle inspiring and say to themselves: “If Amitabh Bachchan can fight this, so can we.”

Other developments around the world:

Pittsburgh offers a cautionary tale: a flare-up of new cases even after months of vigilance.

Three weeks ago, officials in Pittsburgh announced a milestone enviable for almost any major city in America: A day had gone by without a single new confirmed case of the coronavirus. It was good news for a city that had seen only a modest outbreak all along, even as the virus raged through places like Philadelphia and New York.

That was then.

Western Pennsylvania is suddenly experiencing an alarming surge of infections. Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, reported more than 100 new cases for the first time on June 30; two days later, the daily case count surpassed 200. Over two weeks in late June and early July, the county recorded more new cases than in the previous two months combined, and on some recent days has accounted for nearly half of all new known cases in Pennsylvania.

“Allegheny County is the big area of concern at this point,” Gov. Tom Wolf said at a news conference this week.

The surge in the Pittsburgh area offers a cautionary tale: Even after months of vigilance, an outbreak can flare up. While the current flood of new cases in the United States has been driven primarily by the spread of the coronavirus in the South and West, experts fear that other areas — including places like Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Kansas City, Mo., which are all seeing new growth — could be close behind.

“You are seeing what could be the beginning of what we’ve been seeing in Texas and Arizona,” said Dr. Bill Miller, a professor of epidemiology at the Ohio State University.“We can’t let our guard down.”

“I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’d be telling tourists, ‘Don’t come to our beaches,’” said Mayor Joe McComb, 72.

The idea of playing college sports this fall has felt shaky all along. Now, it is teetering with each bit of news, with this week bringing some of the most seismic moves yet.

The Ivy League shut down sports until at least Jan. 1. Ohio State and North Carolina each had enough coronavirus cases among the few athletes on campus that they suspended summer workouts. And the Big Ten Conference said that most of its fall sports, including football, would play only league games — if they played at all. The Pac-12 Conference did the same on Friday, later announcing that its commissioner had tested positive.

“Nobody wants to be the first one, but when somebody is, then it makes it OK for somebody to be the next one,” Buddy Teevens, the longtime football coach at Dartmouth, said of the Ivy League.

Through Wednesday, at least 426 college athletes had tested positive for the coronavirus among roughly 50 Division I programs, and the number of cases is probably much higher. About half of American universities either did not respond to requests for testing results from The New York Times or declined to provide numbers, under the auspices of protecting the privacy of student-athletes.

Ohio State, in suspending its off-season workout programs this week, did not reveal how many students tested positive. It said only that the shutdown affected seven sports, including football.

In pro sports, some competitions, desperate to salvage their seasons and profits, have cautiously reopened, with testing a crucial component. But there was no blueprint for screening athletes on such a scale, so a patchwork of businesses and labs, all with entirely different missions before the pandemic, converged to try to meet the need.

What does it look like to travel by air today?

If you are longing for an international getaway, or simply to go farther than you’re willing to drive, you may have some anxieties about flying or even wondering where you are allowed to go. Let us help:

Reporting was contributed by John Branch, Chris Buckley, Jeffrey Gettleman, J. David Goodman, Maggie Haberman, Jennifer Jett, Zach Montague, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Sarah Mervosh, Raphael Minder and Campbell Robertson.



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