As the decision to wear face masks becomes increasingly political across the U.S., presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden addressed the issue in a recent interview.
The vice president was in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on Thursday when he announced that he would use “federal leverage” to compel mask-wearing nationwide if he were president.
“I would insist”
“I would insist that everybody in public be wearing that mask,” Biden said in an interview with KDKA following a local campaign event. “Anyone to reopen, it would have to make sure that they walked into a business that had masks.”
A dozen states and the District of Columbia already require wearing masks in certain public situations while others have strongly recommended the preventative measure. President Donald Trump has not issued a federal mandate on the issue.
In addition to his stance on masks, Biden said he would stockpile personal protective equipment in addition to “all the things that we need and we don’t have now” in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a mask when indoors and within six feet of others.
“They start touching their eyes”
Biden has been seen wearing a face mask in public on multiple occasions, even attracting some criticism from Trump for doing so. The former vice president posted a photo of himself in a mask to Twitter on Saturday along with the caption: “Wear a mask.”
On the other hand, Trump has questioned whether masks are effective, suggesting that people “put their finger on the mask, and they take them off, and then they start touching their eyes and touching their nose and their mouth.”
A number of Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), however, have made recent pleas for their constituents to cover their faces when out in public.
As the president noted, a mask is only as effective as the person wearing it. Without proper technique and attention to other preventative health measures, even a federal order from the president will be insufficient.