The Trump administration, in a reversal of previous guidance, recommended in early April that all Americans don “non-medical cloth” face masks in public settings. It had earlier said that Americans should not wear these coverings. 

The call led to a flurry of individuals creating homemade masks from cloth and other materials. Usually cloth is not deemed sufficient, but a persistent shortage of medical-grade face masks at nursing homes and other healthcare settings helped push the administration in this direction. Nursing homes repeatedly have appealed to health agencies for more proper  personal protective equipment.

The administration also made it clear that it wants all nursing home personnel to wear face masks “for the duration of the state of emergency in their state” and for every person in a facility to be screened for signs of the coronavirus.