White House hopeful Joe Biden on Thursday called for a nationwide mask-wearing mandate for the next three months, drawing a contrast with President Donald Trump as the challenger makes coronavirus pandemic recovery a focal point of his campaign.
Biden called on governors of all 50 states to “institute a mask mandate nationwide, starting immediately” as a way to halt the virus’s spread and save tens of thousands of lives.
“Look, this is America. Be a patriot,” Biden, with his newly named running mate Kamala Harris nearby and wearing a face covering, told reporters near his home in Delaware.
“Protect your fellow citizens, step up, do the right thing,” Biden added.
Most scientists and health experts agree that, absent a vaccine, wearing a mask and maintaining social distance are two easy steps people can take to slow the spread of a pandemic that has already infected 20 million people and killed 750,000 worldwide.
Even as COVID-19 rages in the US, Trump has steadfastly ignored recommendations that people wear masks to help curb the spread of the virus. He himself did not wear one in public until July 11.
Thirty-four states have mask mandates, mostly requiring facial coverings indoors or outdoors around other people, according to AARP, an interest group for the elderly.
Some hotspots, like Florida and Georgia, have no mandate and their Republican governors have resisted pressure to impose one.
Fresh off Wednesday’s campaign rollout that featured the Democratic ticket together for the first time showcasing their vision for the nation, Biden, 77, and Harris, 55, held a coronavirus working group with health experts who participated remotely.
“As the (former) 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,” Harris said.
The panel included former surgeon general Vivek Murthy, who has been an advisor to Biden throughout the coronavirus crisis.
Biden and Harris then entered a session on the pandemic’s impact on businesses and employment in the world’s largest economy.
Democrats widely accuse Trump of mishandling the US response to a pandemic that has claimed more than 166,000 lives nationwide.
Critics have blamed him for voicing falsehoods about the virus, including that children are “almost immune” to COVID-19, and ignoring or sidelining some chief scientists and health officials in his administration.
– Top priority –
By highlighting coronavirus recovery at the start of their campaign, Biden and Harris are signaling to voters that the crisis is a top priority — and a major election issue.
On Monday, the Democratic National Convention begins — online — to formally nominate Biden and his running mate.
The party’s presidential hopeful introduced Harris at a rollout event Wednesday near his home in Wilmington, at a gymnasium with no public access due to coronavirus concerns.
Harris was announced as Biden’s VP pick a day earlier, sparking a grassroots fundraising spree that the campaign said raised an eye-popping $26 million in the first 24 hours, and $34.2 million by the end of Wednesday.
At the rollout, Harris said Trump’s “mismanagement” of the pandemic has plunged the nation into its deepest health crisis in a century and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
“There’s a reason (the coronavirus) has hit America worse than any other advanced nation. It’s because of Trump’s failure to take it seriously from the start,” she said.
Harris lamented “his refusal to get testing up and running. His flip-flopping on social distancing and wearing masks. His delusional belief that he knows better than the experts.”
Trump meanwhile said the economy was experiencing a “V-shaped recovery,” despite millions of American families suffering and analysts warning that the country remains in an unemployment crisis.
“As we continue to confront the China virus, we’re rebuilding America’s economy like nobody thought possible, actually,” Trump said Wednesday at the White House.
As for the coronavirus, “it will be going away,” Trump told Fox Business Network.
“They scream, ‘How can you say that?'” Trump added. “I said, because it’s going to be going away.”
© 2020 AFP
Trump just revealed his total lunacy to the entire world
So what was happening while we were distracted by Trump’s debate performance?
First of all, his tax returns, publicized by the New York Times since Sunday, have taken a back seat to his support for the white supremacist gang the Proud Boys and his attacks on a peaceful election.
Second, coronavirus news is not getting the airtime it should. More than a million people around the world have died of Covid-19, including more than 205,000 Americans. Florida is seeing a surge in new cases since Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order allowing restaurants and bars to reopen. The Midwest is also in a surge, with record numbers of new cases in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Kansas. Wisconsin hospitals are nearing capacity and South Dakota has the highest rate of spread in the country. Experts worry about a dramatic rise in cases as cold weather settles in.
Canada should send ‘election observers’ to Donald Trump’s ‘fragile democracy’: columnist
A columnist who lives in America's neighbor to the north believes that her country can help ensure a free and fair election without interference from President Donald Trump.
Toronto Star columnist Susan Delacourt argues in her latest piece that "Canada has sent election observers to fragile democracies" around the world and that "Donald Trump’s America should be on that list."
These were the 6 most revealing moments from Tuesday night’s debate as Trump unleashed a torrent of rage
The first presidential debate was as horrific as we feared it would be. We were barely able to hear a word from Joe Biden or moderator Chris Wallace thanks to Trump’s incessant interruptions and nonstop insults. Here are the six most revealing moments:
1.Trump refused to disavow white supremacy.
He reiterated his baseless claims that anti-fascist groups and left-wing organizers were the ones causing violence – a narrative contradicted by multiple studies and his own national security officials. The violence Trump claims is the greatest threat facing our country does not exist. The latest draft of the Department of Homeland Security’s threat assessment report characterizes white supremacy as the “most persistent and lethal threat” to national security.