WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday he supported governors who are pausing their states' re-openings during the coronavirus pandemic, but sees no need for a national mandate for people to wear masks.
Pence also said he believed schools could reopen on time in the fall and that the United States would keep opening up after the coronavirus pandemic that shut down the economy for several months.
The vice president made the remarks before a visit to hard-hit Florida, which shattered records on Thursday when it reported over 10,000 new coronavirus cases, the biggest one-day increase in the state since the pandemic started, according to a Reuters tally.
"I don't think there's a need for a national mandate," Pence said in an interview with CNBC.
"The truth is that we're monitoring right now 12 states that have rising cases and rising positivity and we're fully supporting efforts that governors are taking and local health officials are taking to encourage people to practice good hygiene, social distancing, wear a mask when social distancing is not possible."
Pence said that the rise in coronavirus cases across Sunbelt states in recent weeks - California, Arizona, Texas and Florida - reflects younger Americans beginning to congregate in settings where the virus can spread.
He said he and President Donald Trump support efforts by governors of those states "to modify or pause aspects of their reopening."
To contain the outbreak, Florida closed bars and some beaches, but the governor has resisted requiring masks statewide in public or reimposing a lockdown.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)