(CNS News) -- Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called for a national mask mandate, saying “it’s not about your rights,” during a COVID-19 briefing on Thursday in Wilmington, Delaware.
Biden stated that all Americans should wear masks when they are outside “for the next three months at minimum.” He made these statements during a briefing with public health experts Dr. David Kessler, Dr. Marcela Nunez-Smith, Dr. Vivek Murphy and Dr. Nicki Lurie. It was his and vice presidential pick Kamala Harris’s second event together.
“Let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide, starting immediately, and we will save lives,” said Biden. “The estimates are we will save of 40,000 lives in the next three months if that is done.”
Additionally, he said, “it’s not about your rights,” it is our “responsibility as Americans” to wear masks.
Neither Biden nor Harris cited any source for their claim that wearing masks would save 40,000 lives.
“A lot of people are dying,” Biden added, and said masks are what will help save lives. “When I get occasionally confronted with a person in public about wearing a mask, I say, ‘Look, this is America, be a patriot.’”
He also took the time to criticize President Trump’s response to the coronavirus, saying, “I hope the president has learned the lesson.”
Harris spoke after Biden and praised him for his “leadership.”
She said, “What real leadership looks like is Joe Biden, willing to speak up, sometimes telling us the stuff that we don’t necessarily want to hear, but we need to know. And the need for this mandatory mask-wearing will also be about what Joe has articulated, and what a Biden-Harris administration will do.”
So far, there have been approximately 5.2 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with 166,000 deaths. President Trump has not issued a national mask mandate despite calls for him to do so, saying that it is up to the governors to decide whether they want to require masks in their state.
“I have no problem with the masks,” said President Trump. “I view it this way, anything that potentially can help ... is a good thing. I have no problem. I carry it. I wear it. You saw me wearing it a number of times and I’ll continue.”
He also said, however, “I don’t agree with the statement that if everybody wears a mask, everything disappears.”