This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Joe Biden called for a national mask mandate after accepting his nomination on the final night of the Democratic National Convention. It was one of several policies he outlined to stop the spread of COVID-19, which the Trump administration has been dangerously mishandling and spreading misinformation about.
“We’ll have a national mandate to wear a mask-not as a burden, but to protect each other. It’s a patriotic duty,” he said in his speech.
He also promised to deploy rapid testing, manufacture more protective equipment in America, help schools reopen safely, and “take the muzzle off our experts.”
A study in July found that 40,000 lives would have been saved if there had been a national mask mandate in the months of April and May. Instead, 173,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 so far, with cases and deaths continuing to rise.
“The tragedy of where we are today is it didn’t have to be this bad,” said Biden. “Just look around. It’s not this bad in Canada. Or Europe. Or Japan. Or almost anywhere else in the world.”
Rather than a common-sense measure to save lives, mask-wearing has become a politicized issue in the U.S., with anti-maskers staging armed protests and people getting into confrontations at grocery stores. But despite the complaints of “Costco Karen” and the like about “liberty” — the “liberty” of not being infected with a disease not being considered — mask mandates are perfectly constitutional. (They are hard to enforce, but that is another issue.) There is a mask mandate in place in over 30 states. Meanwhile other countries, including the U.K. and Germany, already implemented national mask mandates months ago.
President Trump fired back against the idea of a national mask mandate on Thursday.
“While Joe Biden would allow rioters and looters and criminals and millions of illegal aliens to roam free in our country, he wants the federal government to issue a sweeping new mandate to law-abiding citizens,” he said during a press conference. “He wants the president of the United States, with the mere stroke of a pen, to order over 300 million American citizens to wear a mask for a minimum of three straight months.”
Biden pushed back against Trump’s approach to Covid-19, calling for practical, decisive action. He is not alone in calling for the mask mandate: According to a July survey, 82% of Americans support it, and hundreds of public health experts have shared his urgency.
“The President keeps telling us the virus is going to disappear. He keeps waiting for a miracle. Well, I have news for him, no miracle is coming,” Biden said.
Biden details the national COVID-19 strategy he would implement on "day one" of his presidency, including rapid testing, new American-made medical equipment and a national mask mandate — "not as a burden, but as a patriotic duty to protect one another" https://t.co/GtFLIpIPzX pic.twitter.com/EU2GRR8pqq
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 21, 2020
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