Biden, Harris call on governors to institute mask mandates
Presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) called on governors across the country to implement mask mandates, saying estimates show that 40,000 lives could be saved as a result.
“Let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide starting immediately and we will save lives,” Biden said at a press conference alongside Harris in Wilmington, Del. “Be a patriot. Protect your fellow citizens. Do the right thing.
“There’s overwhelming evidence that the mask, and depending on the type of mask that you wear, increases exponentially the prospect that you if you are a carrier and you don’t even know it, that you will not infect anyone when you cough, sneeze, sing, shout,” he continued. “A lot of people are dying. We’re up over 160,000 people dead so far.”
“The estimates are we’ll save over 40,000 lives in the next three months if that is done,” Biden said before putting on his own mask.
Biden urged the country to be vigilant and to wear masks outside as well as indoors: “Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months as a minimum.”
Harris echoed Biden’s call at the press conference, saying “that’s what real leadership looks like.”
“As a nation, we should all be wearing a mask for the next three months because it will save lives,” Harris said.
The call is the latest example of Biden and Harris seeking to focus their campaign on combating the coronavirus pandemic while hitting President Trump’s response to the public health crisis.
“If the president had acted sooner … just one week earlier, it would have saved 30-some thousand lives,” Biden said on Thursday. “I hope we’ve learned our lesson.”
A number of polls show a majority of polled Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic. A survey conducted by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research last month found that just 32 percent said they support the president’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, marking a 12-point decline from an identical survey released in March.
Trump has frequently said the virus will “disappear.”