Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said at a news briefing Thursday he wants a mandate to force every American citizen to wear a mask while outdoors at all times until November.
“There’s overwhelming evidence, overwhelming evidence, that the mask, and depending on the type of mask that you wear, increases exponentially the prospect that you, if you are a carrier and you don’t even know it, that you will not infect anyone when you cough, sneeze, sing, shout,” the former vice president said.
Calling forcing masks onto citizens a “simple proposition,” he said, “Every single American should be wearing a mask when they are outside for the next three months at a minimum.”
“Every governor should mandate — every governor should mandate — mandatory mask-wearing,” Biden said.
“The estimates are it will save over 40,000 lives in the next three months,” he continued.
Biden again repeated the claim that “40,000 lives will be saved” by masks, which he said could happen “if people act responsibly.”
Biden further said that “a lot of people are dying. We’re up over 160,000 people dead so far,” and asserted that Americans who do not wear a mask are not good citizens.
“When I get occasionally confronted with a person in public about wearing a mask, I say, ‘Look, this is America, be a patriot. Protect your fellow citizens. Protect your fellow citizens. Step up. Do the right thing. Do the right thing.’”
The former vice president also blamed President Donald Trump for tens of thousands of deaths due to the coronavirus.
Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, praised Biden’s push for a nationwide outdoor mask mandate.
“That’s what real leadership looks like,” she said onstage.
“We just witnessed real leadership,” Harris added, and she echoed Biden in saying that all Americans must wear a mask “for the next three months.”
Neither candidate took a question from reporters.
“America’s youth will act responsibly, and we’re asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask, get a mask. Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They’ll have an effect. And we need everything we can get,” he said at a July 21 news briefing, according to a White House transcript.
Trump wore a mask last month when visiting Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
“When you’re in a hospital, especially … I think it’s a great thing to wear a mask,” he told reporters.
The president commented on the deal online, writing, “HUGE breakthrough today! Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends, Israel and the United Arab Emirates!”