President Donald Trump has been spotted wearing a protective mask for the first time in public since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.
He explained that he chose to wear protection out of safety when visiting a hospital where the risk of contracting the virus is very high.
"I think when you're in a hospital, especially in that particular setting where you're talking to a lot of soldiers and people that in some cases just got off the operating table, I think it's a great thing to wear a mask", Trump said. "I've never been against masks, but I do believe they have a time and a place."
The president was escorted by military leaders and White House staff, who also wore face masks. Photos from the visit show him wearing a navy blue face mask with a golden presidential seal on the side.
WATCH: President Donald Trump wears a mask during a scheduled visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a rare instance of doing so publicly as #coronavirus cases continue to pile up in the U.S. pic.twitter.com/Ksz3vQOryn— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) July 11, 2020
Prior to his visit to Walter Reed, the White House said that the president would "probably have a mask" there. Earlier, it said that mask wearing is not necessary for the US president and those close to him as they are regularly tested for COVID-19.
Several US states, including Arizona, Texas, Florida, and California, have recently seen a spike in the number of coronavirus cases registered per day. In total, more than 3.2 people in the US have been infected with COVID-19, of whom over 134,700 have died, according to the Johns Hopkins University count.