‘Just 100 days to mask – not forever’ – Biden’s inauguration plea to US

Joe Biden will ask all Americans to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his term to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The president-elect, who has frequently emphasised mask-wearing as a “patriotic duty”, will also order masks to be worn in all US government buildings.

Speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Mr Biden said: “On the first day I’m inaugurated, I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask.

“Just 100 days to mask – not forever, just 100 days.

“And I think we’ll see a significant reduction in the virus.”

An anti-mask protestor holds up a sign in front of the Ohio Statehouse during a right-wing protest "Stand For America Against Terrorists and Tyrants" at State Capitol on July 18, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio
Image:President Trump’s scepticism of wearing a mask has fuelled opposition

The move marks a notable shift from President Donald Trump, whose own scepticism of mask-wearing has contributed to a politicisation of the issue.

Mr Biden has also asked Dr Anthony Fauci to stay on in his administration, “in the exact same role he’s had for the past several presidents”, as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

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He said he has asked Dr Fauci to be a “chief medical adviser” as well as part of his COVID-19 advisory team.

Regarding a coronavirus vaccine, the president-elect said he would be “happy” to get inoculated in public to ease any concerns about its efficacy and safety.

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Three former presidents – Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton – have said they would also get vaccinated publicly to show that it is safe.

“People have lost faith in the ability of the vaccine to work,” Mr Biden said, adding that “it matters what a president and the vice president do”.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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