McConnell urges Americans to continue to wear masks

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated Monday that Americans should continue to wear masks, emphasizing that there is “no stigma” associated with them.

The Kentucky Republican’s remarks come as the United States faces another surge in coronavirus cases, with spikes in states like Florida, Arizona and Texas. They also mark a contrast with President Donald Trump, who has refused to wear a mask in public or encourage Americans to do so even as his vice president over the weekend urged Texans to use face coverings during a visit to Dallas.

In a floor speech, McConnell said the United States is currently in a “middle ground” between lockdowns and life before the pandemic, and encouraged the adoption of “new routines.”

“We must have no stigma — none — about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people,” McConnell said. “Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves. It is about protecting everyone we encounter.”

McConnell added that it’s the responsibility of individuals, small businesses, employers and “all levels of government” to take the necessary public health precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. He noted health care professionals in Kentucky recognize that the extra precautions Americans are taking have helped prevent hospitals from being overrun.

“The more we hate the pain and suffering that accompanied the strict stay-home guidelines a few months ago, the happier we should be to take responsible small steps every day to ensure our country can stay on offense against the virus,” he said.

In their efforts to address the virus, some Republican senators, including Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, have also urged Trump to wear a mask.

In a CNN interview Sunday, Alexander said, ”It would help if from time to time the president would wear one to help us get rid of this political debate that says if you’re for Trump, you don’t wear a mask, if you’re against Trump, you do.”

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