Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday reiterated his strong support for a nationwide mandate to force all Americans to wear masks.
Biden was addressing reporters in Delaware when he again proposed a federal rule to force Americans to cover their faces when they are away from home, CBS News reported.
Biden said he had a conversation with his campaign legal team, and felt confident that if he is elected, he could force a mask mandate on areas with reported high cases of the coronavirus.
“Our legal team thinks I can do that, based upon the degree to which there’s a crisis in those states, and how bad things are for the country,” the 77-year-old said.
Biden said he would issue such a mandate by way of an executive order.
Earlier this month, Biden seemed to walk back August comments calling for a three-month blanket mask order and questioned whether one could be enforced by the federal government.
“But here’s the deal, the federal government — there’s a constitutional issue whether federal government could issue such a mandate,” he said in an interview with “Politics Unplugged.”
“I don’t think constitutionally they could, so I wouldn’t issue a mandate,” he said, adding that he would instead “set an example” and “plead with” people to wear masks.
Masks have become a campaign issue as every aspect of the coronavirus pandemic, and the government response to it, has been politicized.
Mixed messaging from government and health officials have not helped to clear up the issue for many Americans.
Examples of that mixed messaging abound online:
CDC Director Robert Redfield on masks, 6 months ago, prior to the “new science”: pic.twitter.com/idEfQ2RpYF
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) September 16, 2020
‘Face masks are the most important, powerful public health tool we have,’ CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told a Senate hearing, adding that they may even be more effective than a vaccine pic.twitter.com/MBapMKDtZ5
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 17, 2020
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) September 15, 2020
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!
They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
— New York Post (@nypost) June 30, 2020
Jerry Nadler would like to remind all Americans to wear a mask. pic.twitter.com/FmHCVXNCyE
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) July 28, 2020
Biden first called for a sweeping nationwide outdoor mask mandate last month.
“Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at a minimum,” Biden said on Aug. 13.
“Let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide starting immediately, and we will save lives.”
Biden’s latest mask proposal appears to go beyond the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines regarding masks.
“CDC recommends that you wear masks in public settings around people who don’t live in your household and when you can’t stay 6 feet away from others. Masks help stop the spread of COVID-19 to others,” the agency states.
Biden has called on governors to mandate masks for citizens at any point when they are not at home.
No governors, thus far, have taken Biden up on the far-reaching proposal.
The CDC warns, “Wear a mask correctly and consistently for the best protection,” adding, “Be sure to wash your hands before putting on a mask.”
“Do NOT touch the mask when wearing it,” the CDC also warns.
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