President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday that intends to ramp up coronavirus restrictions on a national scale once he enters the White House next month, including asking everyone to wear face coverings for at least 100 days.
“Just 100 days to mask, not forever. 100 days. And I think we’ll see a significant reduction,” Biden, speaking alongside Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in their first joint interview, told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Biden added that he’ll be “happy” to get a COVID-19 vaccine once Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, says it’s safe to do so. Ensuring that an effective vaccine is made available and the public have confidence in it will be critical to battling the virus, Biden said.
Biden told Tapper that he’s asked Fauci to serve as his chief medical adviser and a member of his COVID-19 response team. Fauci has emerged this year as one of the most trusted voices on the coronavirus and one of the few members of President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 task force who’s been willing to challenge the president’s misinformation about the disease.
“I asked him to stay on the exact same role he’s had for the past several presidents, and I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well and be part of the COVID team,” Biden said of Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci has reportedly agreed to advise Biden on the pandemic, telling CNN’s Jim Acosta that he spoke personally to the president-elect about the role on Thursday.
As the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths hit record levels in the U.S. this week, Fauci has warned that the country “may see a surge upon a surge” through the holiday season.
“We don’t want to frighten people, but that’s just the reality. We said that these things would happen as we got into the cold weather and as we began traveling, and they’ve happened,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”
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