Joe Biden announced Thursday that he believed Americans should be wearing masks outside their homes until after the November presidential election to blunt the death toll of the coronavirus.
‘Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months, at a minimum,’ Biden said during brief remarks in Wilmington, Delaware. ‘Every governor should mandate mask-wearing.’
His new running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, chimed in saying, ‘That is what real leadership looks like, we just witnessed real leadership’ – though neither Democrat took reporters’ questions at the event.
Biden and Harris participated in a briefing with medical experts Thursday on the COVID-19 crisis at Wilmington’s swanky Hotel du Pont and then each delivered short remarks.
Biden said that experts estimated the move could save 40,000 American lives in the next three months, ‘if people act responsibly,’ the former vice president said.
‘It’s not about your rights. It’s about your responsibilities as Americans,’ Biden went on. ‘Again when I occasionally get confronted with a person in public about wearing a mask I say, “Look, this is America, be a patriot. Protect your fellow citizens … step up, do the right thing.'”
President Donald Trump has politicized mask-wearing over the past four months as COVID-19 continues to spread and kill Americans.
He, at first, refused to be seen publicly wearing a mask amid the pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on April 3 that mask-wearing was recommended in order to prevent those unknowingly infected with COVID-19 from passing it on.
‘Well, I just don’t want to wear one myself,’ Trump said that day at the daily briefing.
The Associated Press reported in May that Trump feared wearing a mask would ‘send the wrong message.’
He said he’d look ridiculous and worried those images would be used in political attack ads.
The president has since sporadically worn one, but not mandated mask-wearing at his events.
His disastrous June 20 campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, featured a number of high-profile Republicans sans mask, including GOP 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain, who’s now dead from the virus.
Cain’s people said they couldn’t be sure where the 74-year-old cancer survivor contracted the disease, though he tested positive of COVID-19 nine days after the rally.
On masks generally, Biden said, ‘I hope the president has learned the lesson.’
Harris also suggested that Trump was overpromising the expediency on which vaccines would be distributed to the American people.
‘And when Joe talks about this, I think it’s important that the American people looking at the election coming up ask the current occupant of the White House when am I going to get vaccinated?’ Harris said. ‘There may be some grand gestures offered by the current president about a vaccine, but it really doesn’t matter until you can answer the question, when am I going to get vaccinated?’
As they wrapped their remarks, reporters from the pool shouted a number of questions, which the Democratic duo ignored.
Earlier in the day, Biden answered a query about Trump’s refusal to fund the Postal Service.
Trump had tied funding to wanting to stop the election proceeding by mail-in voting.
‘Pure Trump. He doesn’t want an election,’ Biden scoffed.