Chuck Schumer was roundly mocked this week after photos emerged of the Senate minority leader failing in his attempt to properly wear a face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Schumer announced Saturday that he had started wearing a mask while going out on walks in New York.
Lol…I had to hit rewind and record it to send to my mother in law when is an ID nurse. He then pulled it off from the front and put it in his suit pocket pic.twitter.com/YsqTasGKFB
— Jeff Gloe (@jeffgloe) April 7, 2020
” I am wearing — yesterday for the first time, given the recommendations of the experts, I wore a mask. I didn’t enjoy it, but you have to do it. One of the big problems here we’ve had from the beginning, we have to listen to the experts, the medical experts,” Schumer told CNN.
As the top Senate Democrat, Schumer has found himself at the forefront of certain aspects of the coronavirus response.
Schumer on Sunday offered up several candidates to serve as a potential czar to lead medical equipment disbursement efforts across the country, The Hill reported.
Meanwhile, several news outlets published photographs of Schumer donning the mask, but neglecting to pull it above his nose.
It wasn’t long before the New York Democrat became the butt of Twitter jokes.
“Please tell me this is photoshopped!” quipped conservative commentator Mark Dice.
Whoa bro. Cool it with the antisemitism. @adl
— rat terrier groyper (@BernardMcDouga1) April 7, 2020
“That mask position is absolutely useless. Just like the space he takes up in the Senate,” tweeted Twitter user Ben Willard.
“The leader of the Democrats, the party that cannot count people standing in a corner and don’t know how to wear a mask,” one commenter said.
Others pointed out that Schumer wasn’t the only Congressional Democrat struggling with how to properly put on a mask.
Why does it look like she's wearing a dirty diaper on her face? The ominous brown stain in the center is quite disturbing.
— Tom Macioszek (@MacioszekTom) April 7, 2020
Still others referred to him as a “mouth breather”:
— Denver Scott (@DenverDScott01) April 7, 2020
Some suggested Schumer could stand to benefit from reading books such as “How to use a mask for dummies” and “How not to use masks for idiots.”
The Centers for Disease Control recently changed course on a previous recommendation, which advised against the blanket wearing of face masks to combat the spread of coronavirus.
In light of “new evidence” showing that people infected with coronavirus can spread the disease without showing symptoms, the CDC now “recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especiallyin areas of significant community-based transmission.”
The World Health Organization voiced concern on Monday that the wearing of medical masks by the general public could exacerbate the shortage for health workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It said lockdowns in many places are proving effective in dampening spread of the coronavirus but any lifting of restrictions requires a calibrated, step-wise approach based on data.
European nations including hardest-hit Italy and Spain have started looking ahead to easing their lockdowns as fatality rates have fallen, while Austria said on Monday it would start reopening shops from next week, although it widened a requirement to wear face masks.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Gheybresus, noting that several countries were considering new recommendations, said: “First and foremost medical masks must be prioritized for health workers on the front lines of the response.”
“We are concerned that the mass use of medical masks by the general population could exacerbate the shortage of these specialized masks for the people who need them most,” he told a virtual news conference.
“Masks alone cannot stop the pandemic, countries must continue to find, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact.”
(Reuters contributed to this report.)