US President Donald Trump has vowed not to order Americans to wear masks to curtail the spread of coronavirus.
His comments came after the country’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, urged state and local leaders to be “as forceful as possible” in getting people to wear masks.
The wearing of face coverings has become highly politicised in the US.
The majority of state governors have now ordered that the wearing of masks outdoors be mandatory, rather than a personal choice. Among them are Republican governors, including Kay Ivey of Alabama, who have reversed their initial opposition to the mandates.
President Trump, who had previously resisted wearing a face covering himself, wore a mask in public for the first time last Saturday.
Earlier this week, US public health body the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released after statement urging everyone to wear masks.