“I learned something major, and that is the White House is a mask-free zone”

Still, mask usage remains rare in the West Wing, said Rep. Brad Sherman, a California Democrat who attended an intelligence briefing at the White House on Tuesday with senior members of the president’s staff.

At the briefing, which he said included about eight White House staffers, only national security adviser Robert O’Brien wore a mask, Sherman said. He added that no one in the secure briefing room was able to maintain 6 feet (1.8 meters) of social distancing, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I learned something major, and that is the White House is a mask-free zone,” Sherman told The Associated Press. “The president is consistent. He’s fine with people not wearing masks.”…

Lawrence Gostin, a public health expert at Georgetown University, says he worries Republican calls for wearing masks “might be too late.”

“The public has received such mixed messages from the administration,” Gostin said. “I fear we may be stuck with coronavirus until it burns through the American population and leaves hundreds of thousands dead.”