After new information regarding the number of asymptomatic transmitters of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended in April that Americans begin wearing masks or other facial coverings in public to reduce the chance of unknowingly spreading the virus to others.
When announcing the policy, President Donald Trump emphasized that these were just recommendations and that he himself would not be wearing a mask.
The weeks that followed featured prominent Republicans questioning the benefits of wearing a mask and conspiracy theories sprouted that the mask advisory was a secret initiative to control Americans. Trump held a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma in late June, and though masks were made accessible, few of the six thousand supporters who attended wore masks. Weeks later, Tulsa health officials said that the rally most likely played a role in the city's subsequent case spikes.
It would be months before Trump finally wore a mask in public and endorsed mask-wearing on Twitter, though he used a racist term for the virus in that endorsement.
Now, Trump is finally directly encouraging his supporters to wear a mask, as a recent email from Trump's campaign revealed.
The email reads in part:
"I don't love wearing them either. Masks may be good, they may be just okay, or they may be great. They can possibly help us get back to our American way of life that so many of us rightfully cherished before we were so terribly impacted by the China Virus [sic]."
He concludes with:
"I recently tweeted that many view wearing a mask as a patriotic act, and there is no one more patriotic than me and you. Why not give it a shot!"
With nearly 160 thousand Americans dead, many thought that the email was too little, too late.
Trump's supporters are among the most vocal groups of Americans discouraging the use of masks.
It's unclear how many of the President's supporters will heed Trump's warning.