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Joe Biden Calls for National Mask Mandate to Fight the Pandemic

Biden's plan is a marked departure from Trump's plan, which is to do nothing and let people die.

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a "Build Back Better" Clean Energy event on July 14, 2020 at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Today, the U.S. reported the most COVID-19-related deaths in one day since May, another grim milestone for the pandemic that has already claimed over 5.2 million confirmed cases and 166,000 deaths in America.

And while Trump continues to do absolutely nothing to stop it, claiming “it is what it is”, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are unveiling their plans to fight the spread of coronavirus.

The presumptive Democratic nominee for president called on governors across the country to institute a three-month-long mask mandate. Biden said, “Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months as a minimum,” after receiving a COVID-19 briefing from public health experts.

Running mate Kamala Harris joined Biden for the briefing, saying “These are some of the brightest minds, not only in our country but internationally. And as the vice president has been saying since the beginning of this pandemic, it should be the public health professionals that are leading policy in our country to address this lethal pandemic.”

In addition to the mask mandate, Biden proposed hiring 100,000 people for a national contact tracing effort and $25 billion for manufacturing and distributing a vaccine. Biden has previously said he would support more testing, more PPE production, and free coronavirus-related healthcare.

Biden said that a mask mandate “is going to get our kids back to school sooner and safer” as well as “get our businesses back long-term.” He also had some words for the anti-maskers, telling them “Look, this is America. Be a patriot, protect your fellow citizens. Step up. Do the right thing.”

Harris echoed Biden’s statements, calling the mask mandate “real leadership” and added that a leader is supposed “to speak up, sometimes telling us the stuff that we don’t necessarily want to hear, but that we need to know.” Harris trashed Trump’s pandemic response in her speech yesterday, saying “This is what happens when we elect a guy who just isn’t up for the job … Our country ends in tatters and so does our reputation around the world.”

Biden added, “The estimates by the experts are it will save over 40,000 lives in the next three months. 40,000 lives if people act responsibly. And it’s not about your rights. It’s about your responsibilities as an American.”

Biden and Harris will likely roll out more details of their plan next week at the virtual Democratic National Convention.

(via ABC News, image: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.