“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” in the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, Biden said during a televised interview with CNN.
The virus causes the disease COVID-19.
New presidents often use the first 100 days to signal which issues are important to them.
Biden said he views the current environment as similar to that of 1932, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected and faced the Great Depression.
“There was a fundamental change, not only taking place here in the United States, but around the world,” Biden said. “We’re in the middle of this fourth industrial revolution.”
The U.S. economy was soaring under President Donald Trump but began a freefall earlier this year when states across the nation, encouraged by Trump and his advisers, implemented weeks- or months-long lockdowns in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.
Trump later urged states to open back up, highlighting the secondary effects of lockdowns such as job losses, rising suicides, and falling grades for many students.
Biden has criticized Trump’s actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and claimed an administration run by him would do better in battling the disease.
Biden has waffled on his position on masks, at one point floating a national mask mandate but later backing away from that call.
Last month, though, he said he discussed a national mask requirement with governors.
The effect of masks against the virus isn’t proven. A large study published last month suggested most masks have no significant effect on transmission of the virus.
Another component of a Biden administration strategy could be encouraging lockdowns. A top Biden adviser early last month said a four- to six-week lockdown could help in the fight against COVID-19 but the former vice president and other advisers later came forward to downplay or dismiss that possibility in a hypothetical Biden administration.
Dr. Atul Gawande, a member of Biden’s CCP virus advisory board, in November said a key component to a national strategy in responding to the pandemic would be to stress the wearing of masks.
“When a person goes into a store and does not wear a mask, when they go to a public gathering and they’re not wearing a mask, they’re hurting everyone’s freedom,” Gawande told ABC. “They are putting people in danger.”
Biden also told CNN on Thursday that he asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to stay on if he wins office.
Trump has criticized Fauci and some of the president’s critics believe he has considered firing him.
“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 said, referring to Fauci.
Fauci told NBC’s “Today” show on Friday that he accepted the offer “on the spot.”
Fauci also said he told Biden that he supported the 100-day mask plan.
“He just wants to get—and it’s a good idea—uniform,” Fauci said. “He’s saying, ‘Hey, folks, trust me. Everybody for 100 days.’ Now, it might be that after that, we still are going to need it. But he just wants it, everybody for a commitment for 100 days. And I discussed that with him, and I told him I thought that was a good idea.”