Joe Biden, the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election, will use his presumed position as “President-Elect” to call for a nationwide mask mandate amid the coronavirus pandemic.
As Fox News reports, Biden will personally reach out with governors, mayors, and other officials to get the American public to comply with a mandate requiring people to wear personal protective masks in public.
During an interview with Fox News, medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel explained that people who do not wear a mask under the new mandate will face a fine. He said people could refuse the mandate, however, as a federal mandate is believed to be unconstitutional.
“I think masks are quite useful, but they have a place and they’re not the be-all and end-all,” Siegel said. “I’m worried that mandating this with fines and such may actually lead to more of a rebellion against it.”
Siegel described masks as “the icing on the physical distancing cake,” but that there were limitations to their use. He also argued that social distancing was more important than mask-wearing.
“I think physical distancing is more important than masks,” Siegel argued. “If you’re 10 feet away from someone, you’re not going to get the virus. If you’re one foot away with a mask, you might.”
The medical expert went on to say that Biden is planning to scale back social distancing guidelines in less risky areas—using a “dial” approach to determine the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
“I don’t think social distancing is dial. I think masks are a dial,” Siegel said via Fox News. “Social distancing is something we should just be doing right now. You never know how much virus was in the community.”
Biden’s intention to call for a national mask mandate comes just days after he was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
Immediately after several mainstream media outlets called the presidential race, tens of thousands of Biden’s supporters gathered in the streets of New York City and Washington, D.C. to celebrate. The gatherings appeared to be in violation of most social distancing guidelines.
Fox News adds:
While the majority of Americans supporting Biden have worn masks, many of the celebrations over the weekend had an absence of social distancing, which the president-elect has appeared silent on.
Biden on Monday is slated to announce his coronavirus task force, which will be headed by Vivek Murthy, the former U.S. surgeon general, and David Kessler, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
In addition, another member of the task force expected to play a key role will be Dr. Zeke Emanuel, an adviser to Biden and the architect of the Affordable Care Act. Emanuel told MarketWatch in an interview that it could be as late as November 2021 before the United States will be able to get out of the pandemic.