Biden to ask Americans to wear masks for 100 days

US President-elect Joe Biden says he will ask Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days in office to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

He told CNN he believed there would be a “significant reduction” in Covid-19 cases if every American wore a face covering.

Biden also said he would order masks to be worn in all US government buildings.

The US has recorded 14.1 million cases and 276,000 deaths from Covid-19.

Constitutional experts say a US president has no legal authority to order Americans to wear masks, but Biden said during the interview he and his Vice-President Kamala Harris would set an example by donning face coverings.

The Democratic president-elect said he would be “happy” to take a vaccine in public to allay any concerns about its safety.

Three former presidents – Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton – have said they are also prepared to be inoculated publicly to show that it is safe.

“People have lost faith in the ability of the vaccine to work,”  Biden said, adding that “it matters what a president and the vice-president do.”

Biden’s Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, who joined him at the CNN interview, received some criticism from Republicans in September after she said she would not trust any vaccine approved by US public health officials during the Trump presidency.

The Pew Research Center says just 60% of Americans are currently prepared to take a coronavirus vaccine, up from 51% who said the same in September.

Biden is preparing to take office as pharmaceutical giants are poised to ship millions of doses of coronavirus vaccines to the American public.

Pfizer, which says its vaccine is 95% effective in clinical trials, and Moderna, which says its jab is 94% effective, have both applied to the Food and Drug Administration to distribute their drugs in the US.

The UK on Wednesday became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer vaccine for the coronavirus.

 

  

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