President-elect Joe Biden said he will ask Americans to mask up for 100 days as soon as he takes the oath of office and said he asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to be his chief medical adviser on the coronavirus pandemic.
‘On the first day I’m inaugurated I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask – just 100 days to mask. Not forever,’ Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday.
‘And I think we’ll see a significant reduction’ in COVID cases when that happens, he said.
Inauguration Day is January 20th. Biden has pushed for Americans to wear the face coverings, even suggesting he may do a national mandate, to combat the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing face masks ‘in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household.’
But some have turned it into an issue of political freedom, saying they don’t want to be ‘forced’ to wear one. President Donald Trump has been reluctant to wear a face covering in public – although he has worn one in mandatory situations – and his campaign rallies featured thousands of people free of face coverings. His team argued wearing a face mask is a personal choice.
President-elect Joe Biden said he will ask Americans to mask up for 100 days as soon as he takes the oath of office, which is on January 20th
Biden said he’s spoken to Dr. Anthony Fauci and asked him to be his chief medical adviser on the coronavirus pandemic
Biden’s plans come as there was a new record in the United States on Wednesday, the most ever COVID deaths in one day at 2,670. Additionally, more than 100,200 patients were in U.S. hospitals Wednesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
The president-elect also revealed he’s spoken to Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and asked him to stay in his current job along with playing a senior role in his administration.
‘I asked him to stay on the exact same role he’s had for the past several presidents, and I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well, and be part of the COVID team,’ Biden told CNN.
Biden added that Ron Klain, his incoming chief of staff, knew Fauci well and had been talking to him ‘all the time.’
Fauci has clashed at times with Donald Trump as the president has made such suggestions as injecting bleach in oneself to combat the coronavirus and pushed for an economic recovery ahead of medical advice.
But the doctor, who was an early expert on the AIDS crisis, has become a public hero and trusted face of the disease as cases rise across the nation.
Experts have warned the coming winter months will be difficult and cases of the disease will continue to rise.
‘The reality is, December and January and February are going to be rough times. I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that’s going to be put on our health care system,’ CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said.
In their hour long interview with CNN, Biden and his Vice President-elect Kamala Harris discussed a number of topics, including the upcoming presidential inauguration and presidential pardons:
Biden said he’d be ‘happy’ to take a COVID vaccine once Fauci says it’s safe to do so and that he’d take it publicly to demonstrate his confidence in it.
‘People have lost faith in the ability of the vaccine to work. Already the numbers are really staggeringly low, and it matters what the President and Vice President do,’ he said.
All three former presidents – Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton – said they would publicly take a COVID vaccine to instill confidence in it
His comments come the day after three of his presidential predecessors- Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – said they would publicly get the coronavirus vaccine as a way to demonstrate its safety and efficacy.
‘I think that my three predecessors have set the model as to what should be done, saying, once it’s declared to be safe … then obviously we take it and it’s important to communicate to the American people,’ Biden said.
There are at least three possible COVID vaccines showing strong signs of efficacy.
And the Food and Drug Administration has scheduled a meeting for Dec. 10 to discuss Pfizer’s request for emergency use authorization.
Meanwhile, lock downs are on the horizon for some parts of the country as cases grow.
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced a new stay-at-home order in parts of the state where hospitals have less than 15 percent ICU capacity
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced a new stay-at-home order for regions where fewer than 15 percent of intensive care unit beds are available.
The new order divides the state into five regions – none of which currently meet the threshold for the new restrictions.
However Newsom said four out of five regions – Greater Sacramento, Northern California, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California – are on track to hit that threshold within a few days and the fifth – the Bay Area – is expected to meet it by the middle of the month.
When they do surpass 85 percent capacity, the state will order affected regions to close hair salons and barber shops, limit retail stores to 20 percent capacity and only allow restaurants to offer take-out and delivery for at least three weeks.
Biden said he’s concerned about what kind of precedent it sits if President Trump would pre-emptively pardon his attorney Rudy Giuliani, his adult children or himself.
‘It concerns me in terms of what kind of precedent sets and how the rest of the world looks at us as a nation of laws and justice,’ the president-elect told CNN.
Legal scholars agree the president can issue pre-emptive pardons to others. In 1974 President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon to prevent him from being prosecuted after the Watergate scandal before any formal federal charges were filed.
Scholars disagree as to whether Trump can pardon himself and the issue would likely end up before the Supreme Court should it come to that. Additionally, presidents can only issue federal pardons meaning Trump, his family and his associates could still be subject to state investigations.
Biden then repeated his pledge that his Justice Department will run independently. President Trump has been criticized for trying to interfere in federal legal matters through his tweets and comments in media interviews.
‘I’m not going to be telling them what they have to do and don’t have to do. I’m not going to be saying go prosecute a B or C,’ Biden said of his attorney general.
‘It’s not my Justice Department. It’s the people’s Justice Department, so the person or persons I pick to run that department are going to be people who are going to have the independent capacity to decide who gets prosecuted and who doesn’t,’ he added.
President-elect Joe Biden was not wearing his medical boot when he arrived at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., for his interview with CNN
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down for their first joint interview, taking questions for nearly an hour from CNN’s Jake Tapper
Biden also said he would not have similar policies to Trump on pardons and tweets.
‘You’re not going to see in our administration that kind of approach to pardons. Nor are you’re going to see in our administration the approach to making policy by tweets. You know, it’s just going to be totally different way in which we approach the justice system,’ he said.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris walked back comments she made in the Democratic primary that a future Justice Department would have no choice but to prosecute Trump.
‘We will not tell the Justice Department how to do its job. And we are going to assume – and I say this is a former Attorney General elected in California, and I ran the second largest Department of Justice in the United States – that any decision coming out of the Justice Department in particular the United States Department of Justice, should be based on facts, it should be based on the law, it should not be influenced by politics period,’ she noted.
Biden backed her up: ‘I’ll guarantee you, that’s how we run.’