Former Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that one of the first actions he will take as president to combat the coronavirus pandemic will be to call for 100 days of wearing masks.
"My inclination ... is on the first day I'm inaugurated is to say I'm going to ask the public for 100 days to mask. Just 100 days to mask — not forever — one hundred days," the former vice president said during an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper.
If we do that, "I think we'll see a significant reduction ... [and] drive down the numbers considerably," Biden continued.
President-elect Biden tells Jake Tapper he will ask all Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days after he tak… https://t.co/eV8tGp0IQt— CNN Politics (@CNN Politics)1607035632.0
Biden raised eyebrows while on the campaign trail earlier this year when he repeatedly called for the implementation of a national mask mandate, even referring to the act of wearing a mask as a "patriotic duty." However, after the remarks drew swift backlash, Biden walked back his plan, acknowledging that such a mandate would likely be unconstitutional.
But Thursday's comments appeared to be at least a partial return to his prior commitment and demonstrated his willingness to use executive authority to push for widespread mask-wearing. If Biden orders the mask-wearing on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, the 100 days would end on April 30.
It will likely be much longer
Despite his promise that the action would last for only 100 days, many who hear the news will no doubt be concerned that it will extend much longer. At the start of the pandemic, many health experts and public officials similarly indicated that lockdown measures would be only temporary, yet many months later in several parts of the country, restrictions have persisted or been reinstated.
Those concerned that the "100 days" will just be the beginning have reason to be. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading health expert who recently agreed "on the spot" to serve as Biden's chief medical adviser, perhaps unwittingly admitted during an interview Friday that Americans will probably still need to wear masks after the 100 days.
Fauci indicated to NBC News host Savannah Guthrie that Biden's plan was a good way to initially get everyone on board.
"He's saying 'hey folks, trust me, everybody for 100 days,' " Fauci said. "Now it might be that after that, we still are gonna need it, but he just wants it, everybody for a commitment for 100 days."
Will you accept President-elect Biden's offer to serve as his chief medical adviser? -@SavannahGuthrie Absolutely,… https://t.co/NJREZHp2SS— TODAY (@TODAY)1607085144.0