Washing, Dec 4 (IANS) US President-elect Joe Biden has said that he will urge Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days after taking office next month in an effort to stem the spread of the raging Covid-19 pandemic.
“In the first day I’m inaugurated I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask,” Xinhua news agency quoted Biden as saying in a CNN an interview on Thursday.
“Just 100 days to mask. Not forever,” he said.
“I think we will see a significant reduction, if that occurs with vaccinations and masking, to drive down the numbers considerably.”
Biden as the US has set a new world record for the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalisations reported in a single day, as the country’s overall infection tally has surpassed the 14 million mark.
It took only six days for the country to add another 1 million new cases.
In its latest update, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday said that there were 196,227 new cases and 2,762 deaths reported in the last 24 hours.
With this, the overall caseload and death toll has now increased to 14,124,678 and 276,148, respectively.
Some Americans have refused to wear masks in the pandemic and seen it as a political statement, despite strong evidence that mask wearing is highly effective in reducing the risk of Covid-19 transmission in the community.
President Donald Trump didn’t publicly endorse wearing masks until July, several months after the pandemic broke out in the US.
However, a US President do not have the constitutional authority to directly order a nationwide mask mandate.
During Thursday’s CNN interview, Biden also said he has asked Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases expert, to be his chief medical adviser and part of his administration’s Covid-19 response team.
“I asked him to stay on the exact same role he has had for the past several presidents,” Biden said.
“I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well, and be part of the Covid team.”
Fauci, who has served as the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, will be staying on in his current role and advise Biden on the pandemic, according to US media networks.
One of the most prominent members of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, Fauci had been at odds with the President on a number of occasions over the response to the pandemic.