Joe Biden Says He Will Ask the Public to Wear Masks During His First 100 Days in Office

Gabrielle Chung

President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris Address the Nation in Victory Speeches

The race between Joe Biden and President Donald Trump was called earlier Saturday

President-elect Joe Biden is planning to ask the people of the United States to wear face masks for the first 100 days he's in office in order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus within the country.

Biden shared his plans during an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday, saying, "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, just 100 days. And I think we'll see a significant reduction," he said.

Biden also said that he has asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House's current coronavirus task force, to serve "in the exact same role he's had for the past several presidents" when his administration begins next month.

"I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well, and be part of the COVID team," Biden added.

JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images President-elect Joe Biden

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Amid news that former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will volunteer to take the COVID-19 vaccine publicly in order to prove its safety to the American public, Biden said he'd be "happy to" get the injection as well in order to demonstrate his confidence in it.

"People have lost faith in the ability of the vaccine to work," Biden told Tapper. "Already the numbers are really staggeringly low, and it matters what the president and vice president do."

The U.S. has been experiencing a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections across the country, with coronavirus cases recently surpassing the 14 million mark.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised against indoor gatherings of large groups and continues to recommend social distancing and face coverings at all times.

Joe Raedle/Getty President-elect Joe Biden

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Biden previously took aim at Donald Trump and his administration for their response in the coronavirus crisis, including how the sitting president has balked at a nationwide mask mandate and often mocked those who wear them.

During the first presidential debate in September, Biden said Trump has "been totally irresponsible the way he’s handled social distancing and discouraging people to wear masks."

"Masks make a big difference. His own head of the CDC said if we just wore masks...we'd probably save up to 100,000 lives. It matters," Biden said.

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In a speech last month, Biden urged Americans to set aside politics and wear masks amid the ongoing pandemic.

"Please, I implore you, wear a mask, do it for yourself, do it for your neighbor. A mask is not a political statement, but it is a good way to start pulling the country together," he said.

As of Thursday, there have been more than 14,096,400 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and at least 274,700 deaths from coronavirus-related illnesses, according to a New York Times database.

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