Vice President Mike Pence under fire for not wearing mask during hospital visit as US coronavirus cases pass one million

US Vice President Mike Pence has come under fire after he chose not to wear a face mask during a hospital tour.

It came just hours before it was announced that coronavirus cases in America had passed one million.

Mr Pence made an apparent violation of the Mayo Clinic's requiring masks during a visit on Tuesday.

The United States has recommended wearing face coverings to prevent the spread of the virus.

The country currently has more cases than any other, with more than one million after the number doubled in fewer than three weeks.More than 58,000 people have died in the country so far.

Video feeds from the Tuesday event showed the Vice President wore no personal protective equipment (PPE) as he met with a hospital employee who has recovered from Covid-19, even though everyone else in the room appeared to be wearing one.

He was also maskless when he visited a lab where the hospital conducts coronavirus tests.

It is at least the second time in recent days Mr Pence has not worn a mask, defying national advice.

Some 10 days ago he was pictured during a trip to Colorado without a facemask.

Mr Pence was the only participant not to wear a mask during a roundtable discussion on the medical institution's coronavirus testing and research programs.

All other participants did, including Food and Drug Administration chief Stephen Hahn, top Mayo officials, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Representative Jim Hagedorn.

The hospital tweeted that it had informed the vice president of its mask policy prior to his arrival.

The tweet was later removed.

Officials from the hospital did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why it was removed, or at whose request.

The vice president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why he chose not to wear a mask.