WebMD News Brief

Biden Calls for National Mask Mandate

joe biden at cancer moonshot summit

August 17, 2020 -- Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is slated to accept the Democratic nomination for president next week, advocated for a nationwide face mask mandate on Thursday to slow the spread of the coronavirus, according to CNBC. The move could save 40,000 lives during the next three months, he said during a press briefing.

“Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at a minimum,” he said. “Every governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing.”

On Thursday, the Biden campaign promoted his plan for conquering the coronavirus. The “Plan to Combat COVID-19” supports a pandemic testing board to surge access to testing, an increase in drive-through testing sites, a national contact tracing workforce, a national supply chain for personal protective gear and premium pay for health care workers who are treating coronavirus patients.

“It’s not about your rights,” Biden said of the mask mandate. “It’s about your responsibilities as an American.”

Biden and Harris held their own version of a COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, according to ABC News, by hosting a virtual call with four doctors who have briefed Biden on the pandemic in recent months. Public health officials have recommended face masks, Biden said, and he supports their recommendations.

“These are some of the brightest minds, not only in our country but internationally,” Harris told reporters after the briefing. “It should be the public health professionals that are leading policy in our country to address this lethal pandemic.”

Later on Thursday, President Donald Trump pushed back against Biden’s insistence on a mask mandate.

“Americans must have their freedom,” he said during a press briefing. “I trust the American people and the governors very much.”

WebMD Health News Brief Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on August 17, 2020

Sources

WRAL, “UNC-Chapel Hill halting in-person classes as campus coronavirus crisis grows.”

UNC-Chapel Hill, “Message from University leaders on important changes for Fall 2020 Roadmap.”

Business Insider, “An Arizona school district canceled its reopening plans because too many teachers refused to show up.”

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