The US Surgeon General on Sunday urged people to wear face coverings, saying they will promote freedom during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Jerome Adams pushed back on the idea that face coverings infringe on freedoms, saying they're important to slow the spread of coronavirus and reopen the economy.
"Some feel face coverings infringe on their freedom of choice- but if more wear them, we'll have MORE freedom to go out," Surgeon General Adams wrote in a tweet Sunday morning.
He said face coverings lead to less asymptomatic spread of the virus, which leads to more places opening sooner.
"Exercise and promote your freedom by choosing to wear a face covering!" Adams said in the tweet, which also included a photo of him in a mask.
Public health officials have emphasized the importance of face coverings amid the country's reopening, given that people without symptoms could unknowingly transmit Covid-19. The coverings are primarily to prevent people with the virus from infecting others.
Earlier guidance from US officials didn't recommend widespread masking, but in April, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended face coverings for the general public in places where social distancing is difficult to maintain, like grocery stores.
At the time, CDC cited growing evidence that people could spread coronavirus without feeling sick.
The World Health Organization this month also updated its advice to recommend the wearing of fabric masks in areas where there continues to be intense spread of the novel coronavirus. WHO also suggested all health workers and caregivers wear medical masks throughout their shift while in clinical areas.