President Joe Biden said wearing masks “through the next year” will save “a significant number of lives” from COVID-19 during a Thursday speech.
During his speech at the National Institute Institutes of Health (NIH) Thursday evening, Biden doubled down on previous statements urging masks to be worn nationwide.
Biden wore a mask during the speech and urged millions of Americans to wear masks for the considerable future, calling it a “patriotic duty.”
As part of Biden’s wider mask initiative, the White House’s coronavirus pandemic team is considering sending masks to everyone in America, NBC News reported last week, which the Trump administration reportedly considered and abandoned last April.
In a Jan. 17 tweet, Biden attacked the idea of masks becoming a “partisan issue” and urged Americans to mask up as a “patriotic act.”
I know masks have become a partisan issue — but it’s a patriotic act. Experts say wearing a mask from now until April will save more than 50,000 lives.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 17, 2021
While Biden criticized the Trump administration’s vaccine rollout as “a big mess” in the speech, Dr. Anthony Fauci countered the accusation at a Jan. 21 press conference where he confirmed there was a plan put in place by the Trump administration.
“We certainly are not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution,” Fauci told reporters.
Biden also announced that the U.S. had purchased an additional 200 million COVID-19 vaccines and moved up the delivery date for another 200 million vaccines to July, which reportedly is enough vaccine supply to vaccinate the entire population. In total, 600 million doses of vaccine are expected to be distributed by July.