Coronavirus continues to spread unabatedly throughout the United States. Joe Biden who is set to take over the presidency in January has previously called for a nationwide mask mandate to help contain the infection rate of the virus. ‘Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at a minimum’ Biden said in August. ‘Every governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing. The estimates by the experts are that it will save over 40,000 lives in the next three months.’
Now that Biden, 77, has won the election he has made it clear that one of the first issues that he and his Taskforce will be tackling is the virus that has claimed over 243,000 American lives. Biden admits that the pandemic is not a short term problem that can be fixed overnight and he says that he will be depending on the counsel of a team of medical professionals and scientists. ‘It’s going to take a lot of hard work to end this pandemic’ he said. ‘I do promise this: We will start on Day 1 doing the right things.’ One of the ‘right things’ Biden is referring to is the wearing of face masks which is also backed up by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. ‘I don’t like to be authoritarian from the federal government, but at the local level, if governors and others essentially mandate the use of masks when you have an outbreak, I think that would be very important.’ he said in July.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America also support the policy of a nationwide mask mandate that Biden wants to implement. IDSA’s senior Vice President of public policy and government relations Amanda Jezek said the IDSA is supportive of his plan and also Biden’s pledge to regularly update the public. ‘Since the pandemic began IDSA has called for a comprehensive and well-coordinated response rooted in the best available scientific data,’ she said.
Many Americans are anti-maskers and deem it as an infringement of their rights to have to wear one. They also say that they have a right to be responsible for their own health and any risk to it. People who do wear masks and people who don’t have both been subject to violent altercations. Rallies against mask mandates have been held all across the US as they have also been held in many other parts of the world with citizens demanding the right to choose if they wear one or not. Studies show that mask wearing is actually more effective in halting the transmission of coronavirus to others. It has been shown that viral load peaks in the days before symptoms begin and that even speaking can be enough to expel virus carrying droplets. As many as 40% of coronavirus cases are asymptotic and as these people exhibit and feel no symptoms they can unknowingly infect others who may be more vulnerable to the myriad of potentially deadly side effects the virus can unleash.
Mask wearing to inhibit more people from potentially being infected is viewed as a means to slow the virus’s transmission rate until an effective vaccine can be developed. Biden’s plan is to approach individual governors to agree to his plan. ‘First, I’ll go to every governor and urge them to mandate mask wearing in their states .. and if they refuse, I’ll go to the mayors and county executives and get local mask requirements in place nationwide,’ Biden has said.
Donald Trump did not take a strong stand and push the wearing of masks, making a stand for the anti-maskers by not wearing one himself. ‘Americans must have their freedom.’ he said. ‘I trust the American people and the governors very much.’ Biden takes the opposite stand ‘It’s not about your rights. It’s about your responsibilities as an American.’ he said.
As Europe and other countries contend with the accelerating Coronavirus tallies and deaths with ongoing lockdowns and mandatory mask wearing in many countries, it is yet to be seen if Biden’s approach to reigning in the pandemic is more successful than his predecessor and more effective than other leaders who have implemented similar restrictions.