Image by Victor Tangermann

The same day that the President of the United States announced that he's sick with COVID-19, the White House says face masks are still merely "recommended" on White House grounds.

A White House official told Axios that even Trump's recently-announced illness won't prompt staff to mandate the use of protective face masks on the grounds. Instead, it sounds like business as usual. Whether it's because of Trump's well-documented disdain for masks or something equally incomprehensible, the protective face masks that are great for stopping passers-by from transmitting a deadly virus to one another will remain optional.

"Our standard protocol is CDC best practices and recommendations," the official told Axios. "Facial coverings are recommended but not required. There's hand sanitizing stations located throughout the complex, frequent washing of hands and good hygiene is strongly recommended and social distancing is encouraged. So, I don't foresee those things changing."

The official added that the White House also implements randomized testing. But Trump and his circle's open mockery of masks raises questions about how seriously any of these measures are actually taken.

Just to be clear: masks are at least moderately effective at stopping the coronavirus from spreading, and should be worn — properly — around others as much as possible while the pandemic continues.