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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Biden Champions Covid-Safety Basics in First Post-Election Policy Address

While holding up a blue disposable mask, President-elect Joe Biden told Americans on Monday that it represents the “the single most effective thing we can do” to stop the spread of Covid-19.

(CN) — While holding up a blue disposable mask, President-elect Joe Biden told Americans on Monday that it represents the “the single most effective thing we can do” to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Biden spoke about the pandemic for just over 10 minutes this morning in his first policy announcement since his election was announced on Saturday. In addition to touting the importance of mask wearing, the former vice president called social-distancing rules vital to protecting public health. 

“Do it for yourself, do it for your neighbor,” Biden said. “A mask is not a political statement, but it is a good way to start pulling the country together.”

The Democrat went on to outline the main tenets of his Covid-19 plan, which he announced on Monday, along with a panel of 13 expert advisers that includes health professionals from the Obama, Clinton and George H. W. Bush administrations. 

Biden said his plan would focus on building a core of contact tracers; directing treatments to the most vulnerable groups, like the elderly and people with preexisting conditions; and making sure health care workers have adequate personal protective equipment. 

Biden also pledged to give schools and small businesses more resources to weather the pandemic, make tests more widely available and, once a vaccine is ready, give it to every American for free. 
“The bottom line is, I will spare no effort to turn this pandemic around once we’re sworn in on January 20th,” Biden said.   

There are 10 million Covid-19 cases in the United States, with infection rates and hospitalizations on the rise, Biden noted. The country has lost 240,000 lives.  

Biden also underscored how this sweeping loss has had a disproportionate toll on groups including Black, Latino and Asian Pacific Islanders, and Native American communities. 

Addressing those health disparities will be “one of our priorities, not an afterthought,” he said.   

Biden said he wants to build his plan on “bedrock of science,” and adapt as research continues toward finding a vaccine and developing antibody therapies.  

“We’ll follow the science. We will adjust to new data when it comes in,” Biden said.  

The advisory board Biden picked to fight the pandemic includes former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who worked under President Barack Obama, as co-chair of the board, along with former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. David Kessler — who worked under President George H. W. Bush and was reappointed by President Bill Clinton — and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Yale University associate professor of medicine and epidemiology.  

Also on Biden’s team is Dr. Rick Bright, a Trump administration whistleblower who resisted political pressure to promote the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 treatment.  

As Biden set the Covid-19 policy stage for 2021, the incoming president also rebuked the idea that wearing a mask infringes upon people’s lives. Rather, he said, precautions increase the changes of birthdays and holidays, or playing sports together. 

“The goal of mask-wearing is not to make your life less comfortable ... or take something away from you,” Biden said. “It’s to give something back to all of us: a normal life.”

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Categories / Government, Health, Politics

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