Biden Says He’d Push for Everyone to Wear Masks in Public to Fight Virus

Joe Biden says that if he was president now he’d“insist” that everyone in public wear masks to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Biden said in an interview with CBS affiliate KDKA on Thursday that he’d use the executive powers of the presidency to try to require American behavior changes on mask wearing, which public health experts have credited with being able to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

That stance puts Biden at odds with President Donald Trump, who has declined to wear a mask in public and has held rallies with supporters, many of whom were not wearing face coverings or maintaining social distance. On Thursday, the U.S. saw a record number of new cases, with a wave across the Sun Belt stoking concerns about the economic recovery and causing states such as Texas to pause its re-opening.

Asked by a reporter what he would do now if he was in the Oval Office, Biden replied, “I would go back to making sure that everybody had masks,”

Wearing a black mask while being interviewed from a distance, he added, “One thing we do know is these masks make a gigantic difference. I would insist that everybody out in public be wearing that mask.”

The reporter then asked if he would use his leverage to mandate mask use in public.

“From an executive standpoint, yes I would,” he replied. “I would do everything possible to make it required that people had to wear masks in public.”

Just hours before Trump’s June 20 event in Oklahoma, it was announced that six campaign staffers had tested positive. On Monday, two more staffers who attended the rally were diagnosed with Covid-19, making it likely that the virus was circulating within the arena, given where people were coming from and the dearth of masks. How widely infections may spread after attendees head home won’t be known for weeks as it can take two to 14 days for symptoms to show.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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