Biden says wearing masks for at least the next three months is key to safe school reopening

Graig Graziosi
·3-min read
Another poll puts Joe Biden ahead of president Trump in race for White House: AP
Another poll puts Joe Biden ahead of president Trump in race for White House: AP

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, are urging governors to enact and enforce strict face mask mandates for at least the next three months.

The Democratic president and vice presidential hopefuls are calling on everyone to wear masks while out in public, whether indoors or outdoors, through the fall.

"Every single American should be wearing a mask when they're outside for the next three months at a minimum," Mr Biden said. "Wearing a mask is going to get our kids back to school sooner and safer."

The call came after Mr Biden and Ms Harris were briefed by health officials from several US health agencies.

Since the pandemic began, more than 166,000 Americans have died as a result of the virus.

Mask wearing has become an issue divided by political lines, as some conservatives have eschewed their use, claiming the masks are an attempt by Democrats to make the virus appear more serious than it is in an effort to hurt Donald Trump's chances at re-election in the 2020 US election.

Mr Biden called on mask sceptics to consider their responsibility to others.

"It's not about your rights, it's about your responsibilities," he said. "This is America. Be a patriot. Protect your fellow citizens. Do the right thing."

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the White House's top doctor responding to the pandemic, said the coming potential confluence of the coronavirus pandemic and flu season this fall and winter could lead to disastrous levels of illness if Americans do not continue to abide by suggested Covid-19 safety protocols.

"I want to impress upon the American people in a way that's so clear: There are things that we can do that would get the level down. If we go into the fall and the winter ... with the same situation ... we will have upticks of percent positive, and then you have the inevitable surging of infection," he said.

He called on Americans to continue social distancing and wearing face masks.

In addition to calling for mandatory mask usage, Mr Biden and Ms Harris also want to distribute millions of test kits nationwide and to hire 100,000 workers to conduct contact tracing analyses to help fight further outbreaks.

The pair also want to allocate $25bn towards the production and dispensation of a coronavirus vaccine should one become available.

Mr Biden and Ms Harris have been critical of Mr Trump's leadership during the pandemic, accusing him of poor leadership that has resulted in more suffering and continual spread of the virus while other nations are seeing their number of infections steadily decrease.

Mr Trump has defended his leadership, claiming the US has tested more people than any other nation, and ensured the public that the economy will return to its pre-coronavirus level once the pandemic has either subsided or effective treatments to combat the virus have been developed.

Read more

Florida Sheriff bans deputies and office visitors from wearing masks