Biden to request Americans to wear face masks for 100 days
Published : Friday, 4 December, 2020 at 4:00 PM Count : 170
US President-elect Joe Biden said he would ask Americans to wear masks for 100 days to help reduce transmission of the virus that is again surging in a country with the world's highest number of deaths and infections.
"I'm going to ask the public for 100 days to mask. Just 100 days to mask - not forever," the Democrat leader said in a TV interview with CNN.
He also revealed he had asked the US government's top infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci to remain in his post and join his Covid-19 team after he takes office.
"I asked him to stay on in the exact same role he's had for the past several presidents," Mr Biden said, referring to the expert who outgoing President Donald Trump had suggested he would fire after the election.
"And I asked him to be chief medical adviser for me as well and to be part of the Covid team."
Mr Biden's approach to the virus stands in sharp contrast to that of Mr Trump, who has downplayed its seriousness, mocked mask-wearing and called for reopenings despite having been hospitalised with Covid-19 himself.
The president-elect said he planned to use government authority where possible to issue a "standing order" for masking in federal buildings as well as for interstate transportation, including on airplanes and buses.
To build trust in vaccines after they are approved, Mr Biden said he was willing to be vaccinated in public.
Meanwhile, former US presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton are volunteering to take a coronavirus vaccine on camera if it will help promote public confidence.
Mr Obama, in an interview with SiriusXM radio, said, "If Anthony Fauci tells me this vaccine is safe, and can vaccinate, you know, immunise you from getting Covid, absolutely, I'm going to take it."
"I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so people know that I trust this science, and what I don't trust is getting Covid."
Freddy Ford, Mr Bush's chief of staff, told CNN the former president also wanted to help promote vaccination.
"First, the vaccines need to be deemed safe and administered to the priority populations," Mr Ford told CNN. "Then, president Bush will get in line for his, and will gladly do so on camera."
Angel Urena, Mr Clinton's press secretary, told CNN the former president would also be up for getting a vaccine in public on television.
The United States has surpassed 14 million Covid-19 infections, with more than 275,000 deaths.