Throughout the campaign, President-elect Joe Biden has repeatedly said that he would follow the science when it came to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. He’d even mentioned a national mask mandate, saying, “It’s time to end the politicization of basic, responsible public health steps like mask-wearing and social distancing. The single most effective thing we can do to stop the spread of COVID: Wear a mask” (via Vox).
During his first joint interview with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Biden followed through on a campaign promise to try and de-politicize mask-wearing in an effort to bring the spread of COVID-19 under control by asking Americans to wear masks. “Just 100 days to mask, not forever. 100 days. And I think we’ll see a significant reduction,” he said in the interview with Jake Tapper. There is one place where Biden actually can impose a mask mandate, which will be in federal buildings, or on buses, trains, and planes that cover interstate routes (via CNN).
Biden's comments on masks haven't gone over well with everyone
When Biden made his stand on mask-wearing public while he was on the campaign trail, Republican strategists like Joel White had warned via The New York Times that a federal requirement would “go over like a lead balloon [and] divide and harden areas of the country in opposition.”
Even now, with still over a month to go before Biden’s inauguration, social media positions on mask wearing have already begun to harden. One social media user responded to the story by simply tweeting, “Resist this bulls***.” Another user commented, “Can I ask him to sit back and play checkers or something for 100 days?” A third responded by saying, “Won’t last long. Biden will get upset having to constantly take it off when he meets a new child. And, no one in this country has the guts or the power to force me into one that’s NOT signing my checks.”
Medical experts all agree that when worn properly, the right cloth masks can reduce the spread of COVID-19. The University of California San Francisco quotes a mask study involving 198 countries, and found that those whose cultures support mask-wearing or had government policies that urge people to wear masks had lower death rates.
Biden will join predecessors by getting vaccinated in public
Biden has also said that like his other predecessors, he will be willing to stand in front of a TV camera and take his COVID-19 vaccination in public, as soon as pandemic expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has given the go-ahead signal that it was safe to do so. “People have lost faith in the ability of the vaccine to work. Already the numbers [of those willing to take the vaccine] are staggeringly low. And it matters whether the president or the vice president do. So I think that my three predecessors have set a model as to what should be done,” Biden told CNN. “It’s important to communicate to the American people [that] it’s safe. It’s safe to do.”
Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have all said they would be willing to take the vaccine in public. Former President Jimmy Carter has also released a statement saying that they “are in full support of COVID-19 vaccine efforts and encourage everyone who is eligible to get immunized as soon as it becomes available in their communities” (via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
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