Joe Biden urged Americans to wear a mask in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, claiming doing so would save at least 100,000 lives in the roughly 60 days until Inauguration Day 2021.
“You know, every major individual of any consequence in the health field is saying, ‘We can save 100,000 lives just between now and January 21 by wearing these masks,’” Biden said Monday during a speech in Wilmington, Delaware. It’s going to take a while for the vaccine to be able to be available, distributed, and get to people. We’re talking about 350,000 to 400,000 people dying.”
Biden responds to Trump COVID adviser Dr. Scott Atlas saying Michigan residents should “rise up” against their governor’s restrictions: “What the hell’s the matter with these guys? What is the matter with them?” https://t.co/kFrcNHA9Vf pic.twitter.com/XvDp3Id6Sk
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 16, 2020
When asked if he believes more governors should be closing “non-essential” businesses and reinstating stay-at-home orders, Biden first said it “depends on the state” before praising governors who issued mask mandates.
“What I failed to mention earlier is the enormous respect I have for conservative Republican governors who stepped up and issued mandates for wearing masks,” Biden told reporters.
Biden specifically pointed out the governors of North Dakota and Ohio, who issued mask mandates earlier this year. He also acknowledged Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, who recently faced calls for impeachment in the wake of new COVID mandates.
Biden also called wearing a mask “patriotic.”
“Do you guys understand this? Doesn’t anybody understand why a governor would turn this into a political statement? It’s about patriotism. It’s about being patriotic. It’s about saving life … for real,” Biden said. “That’s not hyperbole. It’s about being patriotic. And I’ll think you’ll see more and more as this God-awful virus continues to spread almost unabated that governors are stepping up.”
The former vice president then blamed President Trump and his administration for some Americans’ refusal to wear masks.
“The idea that the president’s now existing remaining advisor on COVID is saying that they should resist,” Biden said. “What the hell is the matter with these guys?”
Biden called resistance to wearing a mask “totally irresponsible.”
For the duration of the 2020 election cycle, Biden focused heavily on how President Trump handled the coronavirus pandemic. After media outlets declared him presumptive president-elect, Biden kept his focus on the virus, even making clear his plans to call on state and local officials to implement mask mandates nationwide, NBC News reported.
Biden’s rhetoric on the virus has caused concerns about the state of the economy, but the presumptive president-elect assured Americans that he would “shut down the virus,” not the country.