"On the first day I’m inaugurated, I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask," Biden said in an interview with CNN on Thursday

By Gabrielle Chung
December 04, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden
| Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

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.

Amid news that former presidents Barack ObamaGeorge 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.

President-elect Joe Biden
| Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty

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.

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.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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This story originally appeared on people.com