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"This is voluntary. I don't think I'm going to be doing it", he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump's White House on Thursday rallied around the message that all was well both in the battle against coronavirus and in efforts to get the U.S. economy moving again despite several days of record spikes in new cases. However, the President remained defiant - despite increasing evidence that face masks could not only prevent the transmission of infection but can also help in unburdening the health infrastructure.

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that mask use is recommended but not required but around 20 states have mandated their use in public and many are calling on the President to set an example for the country by wearing one. "I had a mask on for a period of time", he said.

Despite numerous previous protestations to the contrary, Trump now says he has no problem with wearing a mask in public and that he "sort of like" how he looks with one on, likening himself to the Lone Ranger.

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Yet, Trump has faced criticism for refusing to wear a mask, whether at the White House where officials and aides are tested regularly, or in public settings.

On Wednesday, the same day Conway talked to reporters, Trump said he was open to wearing a mask in close confines, but didn't think a nationwide mask mandate was necessary.

"I'm all for masks". The president has put little emphasis on masks despite evidence they can help combat the spread of the deadly virus.

When asked whether he would wear one, Trump said: "If I were in a tight situation with people I would, absolutely", adding that people have seen him wearing one before.

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But on Wednesday, he sounded a different tone, saying he liked the way he looked wearing it.

"I thought it was OK". 'It looked like the Lone Ranger, ' he added, referring to fictional law-and-order character from the American Old West who wore a black eye mask.

"If people feel good about it they should do it", the BBC quoted him as saying in his Fox Business interview on Wednesday.

More than 100,000 Indian-American doctors have contributed to the fight against the virus and the President thanks them for their tireless, life-saving work, White House assistant press secretary Karoline Leavitt said on Wednesday.

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The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former vice president Joe Biden, said last week that he would pursue a federal mask mandate, if elected.

Meanwhile, the US's leading infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci (pictured below) warned the country risks an even greater outbreak because it failed to lock down effectively.

The jump in new virus cases has caused many states to halt or reverse reopening plans, resulting in a second round of job cuts and risks to the economy even as some positions lost in the initial weeks of the crisis have been restored.

"We are still in a deep, deep jobs hole because Donald Trump has so badly bungled the response to the coronavirus, and now has basically given up responding at all", Biden said.

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Comparing the U.S. with Europe, where nearly complete lockdown was achieved, he added: 'In the United States, even in the most strict lockdown, only about 50 per cent of the country was locked down.

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