Mike Pence has flouted the rules of the CDC by not wearing a mask during a roundtable discussion with food industry leaders in West Des Moines on 8 May.
In fact, shocking footage shows the five food executives present for the event all being told to take off their masks before Pence joined the live stream and the meeting started.
This is despite, according to The Intercept, two of those executives – Ken Sullivan of Smithfield Foods and Noel White of Tyson Foods – run meatpacking plants where hundreds of workers have reportedly contracted coronavirus.
In the video, a woman walked onto the stage and instructed three people on the right to remove their masks and then walked around to the other side to tell the remaining two the same.
A few minutes later, Mike Pence walked on stage with no mask.
He *did* manage to sit more than two meters away from other people present at the meeting though.
Not wearing a mask in public goes against the current CDC guidelines, which state:
The virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity – for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing – even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
At the end of last month, Pence made headlines for visiting a hospital in Minnesota and choosing not to wear a mask.
His reason? He wanted to look the patients “in the eye”, according to NPR:
Since I don't have the coronavirus, I thought it'd be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible health care personnel, and look them in the eye and say thank you.
The lack of masks comes about after a reporter asked President Donald Trump on Monday evening about the double standard of White House staff having easy access to tests while the general American public don’t.
Trump’s response was:
If we didn't get the tests... you'd be up complaining. We can’t win.
At the time of writing, the coronavirus death toll in the US sits at 81,491 – by far the highest in the world.