President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday he plans to ask the nation to wear masks for the first 100 days of his office. Talking to CNN, Mr Biden also said he would issue a standing order that would prescribe masks in some places.
“Only 100 days for masking. Not forever – 100 days,” Mr. Biden said. “I think we’re going to see a significant reduction if it is done with vaccinations and masking to significantly reduce the numbers.”
Mr Biden has previously raised the possibility of a national mask mandate, but has somewhat repressed this rhetoric as he does not seem to have the power to authorize such a broad mandate. Mr Biden said he was issuing an instruction to wear a mask in federal buildings and interstate transportation, such as on planes and buses crossing state lines.
Masks, when properly designed and alerted, help slow downthat it killed more than 275,000 Americans.
Mr. Biden also told CNN that he had invited Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Infectious Disease Expert, to remain Director of the National Institute of Allergic and Infectious Diseases and to serve as Mr. Biden’s Chief Medical Advisor and be part of the incoming administration COVID-19 response group.
Mr Biden has not specified whether Fauci has accepted it, but Fauci has said before that he will “necessarily” serve in Mr Biden’s COVID-19 working group if asked. Fauci has been the director of NIAID since 1984.
Fauci, who became director of NIAID in 1984, told CBS News that yeson Thursday for the first time with the Biden Transitional Team to discuss its response to the coronavirus epidemic. He stressed that the transition process was key to ensuring that Mr Biden could take action on the first day.
“Serving six administrations, I’ve gone through five transitions, and I know the transition is really important if you want responsibilities to be handed over smoothly,” Fauci said.
During the interview, Mr. Biden emphasized his confidence in Fauci, promising to accept a vaccine against coronavirus as Dr. Fauci says it is safe. Mr Biden also said he was willing to vaccinate himself in public after the last three former presidents said they would be vaccinated on video.
“When Dr. Fauci says we have a safe vaccination, it’s the moment I stand in public,” Biden said, adding, “It’s important to let the American people know it’s safe. You can do it safely.”
The first dose of COVID-19 is expected to reach vulnerable Americans this month.