PHOENIX - A masked Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Arizona on Wednesday, where the state leads the nation in new coronavirus cases per capita.
Pence’s visit comes as Arizona broke its own records in newly reported COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, emergency room visits and deaths.
There have been roughly 558 new cases per 100,000 people in Arizona over the past two weeks, ranking the state first in the country for new cases per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Pence implored residents to wear masks and support business closures as the state reported record infections, deaths and emergency room visits.
He also said the federal government is sending 500 health workers to Arizona. With beds quickly filling, hospitals are squeezing two beds into rooms intended for one patient and have been given authority to ration care if they can’t adequately treat all patients.
State health officials reported 4,878 new confirmed cases - a number comparable to recent daily case totals in larger states such as Florida and California, which have three to six times as many people as Arizona.
Pence was met on a tarmac by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, where the men exchanged an elbow bump.
Also on Wednesday, President Donald Trump said he thinks a mask makes him look like the Lone Ranger - and he likes it.
Trump told Fox Business that he’s “all for masks.”
Trump’s comments came a day after Republican lawmakers suggested that the president should wear a mask in public to set a good example for Americans.
Trump has long resisted wearing a mask in public. In early April, the CDC issued a recommendation that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures were difficult to maintain.