Despite the fact that the total number of COVID-19 cases in the US has now surpassed a million, VP Mike Pence doesn't appear to be the least bit interested in setting an example regarding health-minded behavior.
Pence did not rock a face mask during a tour of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota on Tuesday. As the Associated Press pointed out with not quite enough urgency in their report, this marks "an apparent violation" of the medical center's mask policy. Not only did Pence not rock a mask when meeting a worker who has recovered from the novel coronavirus, he also went maskless when paying a visit to a lab where the clinic conducts virus tests.
The Mayo Clinic said in a statement to AP, which followed a deleted tweet from the medical center noting the same, that they had informed Pence of the mask policy prior to the visit.
When addressing the ensuing backlash, which you can sample further down this page, Pence defended his decision to not wear a mask.
"As Vice President of the United States I'm tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus," he said, adding that he wanted to be able to "look [the healthcare workers] in the eye and say 'thank you.'" It's unclear if he was under the false assumption that wearing a mask would also obscure his eyes.
Everyday people and public figures alike have expressed equal parts annoyance and anger at Pence's mask-free attitude, with several pointing out that—despite his frequent testing—the real issue here is the lack of a well-set example:
"[Pence] takes time off from his gig as a mannequin, and he's walking around without a mask taunting these poor people who are bedridden and wearing a mask," Letterman said.
Anyway, get yourself some masks if you're able to do so.