Biden will ask Americans to wear masks for 100 days and says he’d take vaccine on TV

John T. Bennett
·3-min read
<p>Joe Biden, the president-elect, is mulling a mask plea of 100 days for all Americans. </p> (AFP via Getty Images)

Joe Biden, the president-elect, is mulling a mask plea of 100 days for all Americans.

(AFP via Getty Images)

President-elect Joe Biden is considering using his inaugural address next month to call on all Americans to wear a mask for 100 days to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“Not forever,” he said of his possible call to his fellow citizens. “And I think we’ll see a significant reduction.”

Mr Biden says he has asked Dr Anthony Fauci to stay on as part of his Covid response team when he becomes president. Mr Biden said that he spoke with Dr Fauci on Thursday and that he would become a “chief medical advisor” to him in January, he told CNN.

He says he would also take a Covid-19 vaccine on television once the country’s top infectious disease expert says it is safe.

The incoming president’s talk of a plea for national mask-wearing comes as a recent The Hill-HarrisX polls found 75 per cent of Americans support a mask mandate. Legal experts have said it is not clear a president has the legal authorities needed for a national requirement to cover noses and mouths to slow the virus’ spread. That is down seven points from the same survey’s pro-mask high over the summer. Since, the virus has begun spreading again, and quickly.

The virus has infected over 140,000 Americans and killed over 1,800 on Thursday alone, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

“I’d be happy to do that,” Mr Biden said during an interview with CNN that will air in full at 9pm ET when asked about former presidents George W Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all saying they would take a vaccine on television to help gin up public confidence as some are concerned it was developed too quickly by the Trump administration.

But like the president for which he was vice president, the incoming chief executive, wants one federal official to endorse the drug before it goes into his arm.

“When Dr Fauci says, ‘We have a vaccine that will be safe,’ that’s when I’ll stand before the public,” Mr Biden said, grabbing his left shoulder to indicate that’s where the needle would inject the inoculation.

“Look, that has to happen. People have lost faith in the vaccine to work,” he said. “It matters what a president and vice president do.”

More than half (58 per cent) of Americans are willing to take a Covid-19 vaccine, according to Gallup. That’s up eight points from a low of 50 per cent in September.

The country was more split just a few months ago.

Exactly half also said in September they would not take a vaccine. That number has dropped to 42 per cent, according to the same Gallup survey.

As always with a hot-button issue, there is a clear partisan split on vaccine-taking.

Sixty-nine per cent of Democrats say they would be willing to be inoculated; 49 per cent of Republicans and independents said the same.

But even Democrats were more sceptical back in September: 53 per cent said they would take a vaccine then.

The other two groups have remained mostly content for months: Republicans have held steady at 49 per cent, while 47 per cent of independents were pro-vaccine this summer.

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