WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says his administration is encouraging many Americans to wear face masks in public.
The new guidance is raising concern that it could lead to a sudden run on masks.
Some in the U.S. already have begun acquiring or creating face masks of their own even before this week.
During Friday's White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, President Trump stressed that the new recommendation from the CDC is optional and is conceding that he will not be complying with it.
The latest guidance suggests that Americans use makeshift coverings, such as T-shirts, scarves or bandanas to cover their noses and mouths.
Medical-grade masks, especially N95 masks, are to be reserved for those on the front lines of trying to contain the pandemic.
The policy change comes as public health officials are concerned that those without symptoms can spread the virus which causes COVID-19.