Joe Biden Calls For A Nationwide Mask Mandate To Combat COVID-19 Outbreak

Biden’s views on masks and the COVID-19 outbreak contrast sharply with those of President Trump, who for months resisted wearing a mask or advising others to do so.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) arrive to deliver remarks at the A.I. High School on August 12, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. | Getty Images
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) arrive to deliver remarks at the A.I. High School on August 12, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. | Getty Images

Presumptive Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden called for a nationwide mask mandate on Thursday to combat the COVID-19 outbreak in the country. 

At a public health briefing open to the press in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden said that “every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at a minimum.”

“Every governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing, the estimates by the experts are that it will save over 40,000 lives in the next three months. 40,000 lives, if people act responsibly,” he continued. “It’s not about your rights. It’s about your responsibilities as an American.”

Biden’s views on masks and the COVID-19 outbreak contrast sharply with those of President Trump, who for months resisted wearing a mask or advising others to do so, despite CDC recommendations that they be worn at all times while out in public. After the CDC officially advised people to wear face coverings in early April, the president said their guidance was only a recommendation and that he “won’t be doing it personally.” In May, he then shared a tweet mocking Biden for wearing a mask in public. Trump also hasn’t worn a mask to any of his recent rallies — a trend that is even raising alarm among Fox News anchors who’ve historically supported him.

Biden’s call for Americans to adopt science-backed policies based on advice from health experts also differs from the actions of Trump, whose expressed views regarding the virus often contradict health experts, including White House coronavirus task force member and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases head Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

California Sen. Kamala Harris, who Biden officially chose as his vice presidential running mate on Tuesday, joined him at the event and applauded his call to action. 

“That's what real leadership looks like,” she said. “We just witnessed real leadership.”

Biden and Harris both received two briefings together in Wilmington on Thursday according to CNBC — one was about pandemic and the other was about the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

In an interview with KDKA in Pittsburgh in June, Biden said that he would insist that everyone wear masks in public if he were president and do everything in his power to make it federally mandated.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) recently introduced a bill called “Masks For All” that calls for $5 billion in government funding in order to send three high-quality, reusable masks to every person in the U.S., free of charge.

More than 166,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and the U.S. has more than 5.2 million cases, far more than any country in the world.