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Joe Biden to call for 100 days of mask-wearing to combat the pandemic, but it will likely go for much longer

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that one of the first actions he will take as president to combat the coronavirus pandemic will be to call for 100 days of wearing masks.

“My inclination … is on the first day I’m inaugurated is to say I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask. Just 100 days to mask — not forever — one hundred days,” the former vice president said during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

If we do that, “I think we’ll see a significant reduction … [and] drive down the numbers considerably,” Biden continued.

Biden raised eyebrows while on the campaign trail earlier this year when he repeatedly called for the implementation of a national mask mandate, even referring to the act of wearing a mask as a “patriotic duty.” However, after the remarks drew swift backlash, Biden walked back his plan, acknowledging that such a mandate would likely be unconstitutional.

But Thursday’s comments appeared to be at least a partial return to his prior commitment and demonstrated his willingness to use executive authority to push for widespread mask-wearing.

It will likely be much longer

Despite his promise that the action would last for only 100 days, many who hear the news will no doubt be concerned that it will extend much longer. At the start of the pandemic, many health experts and public officials similarly indicated that lockdown measures would be only temporary, yet many months later in several parts of the country, restrictions have persisted or been reinstated.

Those concerned that the “100 days” will just be the beginning have reason to be. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading health expert who recently agreed “on the spot” to serve as Biden’s chief medical adviser, perhaps unwittingly admitted during an interview Friday that Americans will probably still need to wear masks after the 100 days.

Fauci indicated to NBC News host Savannah Guthrie that Biden’s plan was a good way to initially get everyone on board.

“He’s saying ‘hey folks, trust me, everybody for 100 days,’ ” Fauci said. “Now it might be that after that, we still are gonna need it, but he just wants it, everybody for a commitment for 100 days.”

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‘No national shutdown’: Joe Biden says shutting down the virus will not require a national lockdown

Former Vice President Joe Biden said in a media briefing on Thursday that he would not support a national lockdown and that the coronavirus could be defeated without such an order.

Biden made the comments in the question and answer period after his remarks on the coronavirus pandemic from Wilmington, Delaware. He was responding to a reporter who asked him if he supported a national lockdown to combat the virus.

“I am not gonna shut down the economy, period,” responded Biden. “I’m gonna shut down the virus. That’s what I’m gonna shut down.”

“So that’s ruled out?” asked Kristen Welker of NBC News.

“I’ll say it again: No national shutdown,” he responded.

“No national shutdown. Because every region, every area, every community can be different,” Biden explained. “So there’s no circumstance that I can see that will require total national shutdown. I think that would be counterproductive.”

Biden had previously said in August that he would listen to scientists and experts if they advised that a national lockdown was necessary to combat coronavirus.

He went on to say that there might be different restrictions based on local outbreaks of the virus, and gave examples of gyms opening up or his church where only 40% of the parishioner capacity were allowed in at one time.

“But there are constraints in which, the degree to which, businesses can be open,” he explained. “Those are rational decisions. It’s not shutting down everything, it’s calibrating according to what the threat is.”

One of Biden’s coronavirus advisors had floated the idea of locking down for 4-6 weeks and having the government pay for the lost wages in order to get the virus under control ahead of a vaccine being developed.

“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers, for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies, for city, states, county governments,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm.

Later Dr. Atul Gawande, another member of Biden’s COVID-19 task force, said that a national lockdown wasn’t necessary and that a localized response would do enough to combat the virus.

Here’s the video of Biden’s comments:


Biden: I Will Not Shut Down the National Economy

www.youtube.com

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Dissension in the ranks? Biden COVID task force offers mixed messages as one adviser counters fellow adviser’s idea of a national shutdown

Former Vice President Joe Biden had a mess on his hands last week when one of his COVID task force advisers suggested the U.S. might need a four- to six-week nationwide lockdown in order to get surging COVID-19 numbers under control.

After serious blowback, the Biden transition team made sure to send out another member of the COVID advisory team to tamp down fears about a shutdown.

What happened?

On Wednesday, Team Biden COVID adviser Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told Yahoo! Finance that a month-and-a-half lockdown could be necessary to fight the current rise in coronavirus cases.

“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers, for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies, for city, states, county governments,” he said. “We could do all of that, and if we did that, then we could lock down for four to six weeks.”

This is the same Dr. Osterholm who warned against a national lockdown last spring when the coronavirus was surging in an op-ed for the Washington Post titled “Facing covid-19 reality: A national lockdown is no cure.” In the piece, he warned against a “national shutdown directive,” which he described as “ringing a giant bell that we don’t know how to un-ring.”

Naturally, response to the doctor’s recent suggestion of a new lockdown was not overly positive.

So the Biden transition team was compelled to send someone to fix the damage. Enter Dr. Atul Gawande, another member of the Biden COVID task force.

In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, after he was prompted to bash the Trump administration’s efforts to combat the pandemic, host Martha Raddatz mentioned Osterholm’s shutdown idea, asked Gawande to “clear this up,” and queried, “Is there a scenario where that could happen?”

Gawande said the Biden team opposes the idea of a nationwide lockdown, saying he and his team believe the country can get it “under control” without one.

“We are not in support of a nationwide lockdown and believe there is not a scenario, unless —,” he began, then, catching himself, said, “There simply isn’t a scenario, because we can get this under control.”

“The critical parts are understanding what we’ve learned since we did a nationwide lockdown in early April,” Gawande continued. “And that is that you can have targeted measures building on mask-wearing to include widespread testing, to include dialing up and down capacity restrictions, and those measures need to happen in a more localized basis.”

He concluded: “We do not need to go into a nationwide shelter-in-place shutdown.”

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Biden’s coronavirus advisor says lockdown of 4 to 6 weeks could control the pandemic until vaccines arrive, would pay for lost wages

A top advisor on coronavirus to former Vice President Joe Biden says that a lockdown of 4 to 6 weeks could control the pandemic and help revive the economy.

Dr. Michael Osterholm made the comments in an interview with Yahoo! Finance on Wednesday.

The director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota said that the government should consider a package to pay for the wages lost by Americans during that time.

“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies, for city, states, county governments. We could do all of that, and if we did that, then we could lockdown for 4 to 6 weeks,” said Osterholm.

“And if we did that we could drive the numbers down, like they’ve done in Asia, like they did in New Zealand and Australia, and then we could really watch ourselves cruising into vaccine availability in the first and second quarter of next year and bringing back the economy long before that,” he explained.

“COVID hell”

Osterholm reiterated his claim that the U.S. is headed into what he calls “COVID hell” because of pandemic fatigue from the public not taking guidelines from experts seriously enough.

“There won’t be any blue or red states anymore, there won’t be blue or red counties, they will be COVID color,” he added.

Biden has also said that he would advocate for a national mask mandate by talking to local and state government leaders and trying to persuade them to implement local mandates.

“Let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide starting immediately and we will save lives. The estimates are we will save over 40,000 lives in the next three months if that is done,” said Biden in August.

The U.S. has seen more than 10.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the country, and the death toll in the U.S. is at more than 247,000 people.

Here’s another interview with Biden advisor Michael Osterholm:


Biden COVID-19 advisory board member Michael Osterholm on pandemic response challenges

www.youtube.com

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