Written by 4:24 PM News

Biden says he will ask all Americans to wear masks for 100 days

President-elect Joe Biden said he would ask all Americans to wear a mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus for the first 100 days of his administration as well as issue a “standing order” requiring face coverings in federal buildings and interstate transportation.

In an interview with CNN on Thursday, Biden also said that he had spoken to Dr. Anthony Fauci and asked him to stay on as the government’s top infectious disease expert.

Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a role he’s held since the Reagan administration. But Biden suggested that Fauci would have an even bigger voice in his administration, advising the president directly.

“I asked him to stay on the exact same role he’s had for the past several presidents, and I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well, and be part of the Covid team,” Biden said. He pointed out that his incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, had worked closely with Fauci during the Ebola crisis beginning in 2014.

 The president-elect has frequently emphasized mask-wearing as a “patriotic duty” and during the campaign floated the idea of instituting a nationwide mask mandate, which he later acknowledged would be beyond the ability of the president to enforce.

“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, Biden said.

The president-elect reiterated his call for lawmakers on Capitol Hill to pass a coronavirus aid bill and expressed support for a $900 billion compromise bill that a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced this week.

“That would be a good start. It’s not enough,” he said, adding, “I’m going to need to ask for more help.”

Biden has said his transition team is working on its own coronavirus relief package, and his aides have signaled they plan for that to be their first legislative push.

The president-elect also said he 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.

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

Regarding a coronavirus vaccine, Biden offered begrudging credit for the work Trump’s administration has done in expediting the development of a vaccine but said that planning the distribution properly will be “critically important.”

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