US Vice President Mike Pence has encouraged young Americans to get a coronavirus test if they have concerns.
During his briefing with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday, Pence discussed how they can “accelerate results of testing.” He said he would take the feedback to the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the administration’s private partners.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly downplayed the need for increased testing. At his Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally last week Trump suggested that he had asked for testing to be slowed down.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, told reporters that Texas health officials are seeing an increase in hospitalization rates among 20- to 40-year-olds, which she said indicated there is a large percentage in this age group who are positive but were asymptomatic.
Pence also encouraged Americans to wear masks, but again deferred to local ordinances for mask requirements.
“If your local officials in consultation with the state are directing you to wear a mask, we encourage everyone to wear a mask in the affected areas and where you can't maintain social distancing, wearing a mask is just a good idea and it will, we know, from experience, will slow the spread of the coronavirus,” Pence said at a briefing at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas on Sunday.
Later in the briefing, Birx said, “I'm really appealing to every Texan to wear a mask.” Pence and Birx both stressed that younger Americans need to take steps to protect older Americans.
This is a moment where you really have -- we have to put our arms around and protect the most vulnerable among us and particularly seniors with underlying health conditions are precisely those for whom the worst outcomes occur,” Pence said.
Pence wore a mask earlier Sunday while visiting a church but has not always worn masks in public events.