United States President Donald Trump on Monday said wearing a face mask was patriotic – a marked departure from his stance so far. Trump publicly wore a mask for the first time only on June 11. The US has been the country worst hit by the coronavirus by far.

“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 with a picture of him wearing a face mask. “There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!” This came nearly three months after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended wearing masks in public.

Trump had for months refused to wear a mask in public, even as public health experts in his administration recommended wearing one would slow the spread of the infection. He also ridiculed those who wore a mask, like Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Even last week, Trump vowed to not order Americans to wear masks to contain the spread of the coronavirus. “I do not believe in the statement that if everyone wore a mask, everything disappears,” he had said in an interview with Fox News.

It is believed that the shift in his stance has been motivated by his floundering poll numbers, reported CNN. Last week, his campaign aides informed the president that Americans do not approve of his reluctance regarding masks.

The United States has over 38 lakh cases of the novel coronavirus and 1.40 lakh deaths, so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University. On Monday, the US registered 61,288 new cases and 488 deaths.

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