President-elect Joseph Biden said Thursday that on his first day in office he would ask Americans to wear masks for 100 days, and that Dr. Anthony Fauci will play a pivotal role in his administration’s fight to curb the spread of coronavirus.
“On the first day I’m inaugurated, I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask. Just 100 days to mask — not forever, just 100 days. And I think we’ll see a significant reduction” in the virus, Biden told CNN.
As for Fauci, Biden made it clear that the nation’s top infectious diseases expert would be a central player in the U.S. coronavirus response, The New York Times reported.
“I asked him to stay on in the exact same role he’s had for the past several presidents, and I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well, and be part of the COVID team,” Biden said.
That response is facing its toughest challenge so far, as daily case counts, hospitalizations and deaths continue to set records on a daily basis.
California, the first state to impose far-reaching lockdowns after the pandemic struck, announced strict new measures on Thursday, to try to keep a surge in cases from overwhelming hospitals, the Times reported.
Millions of people across Southern and Central California are likely to see outdoor dining shuttered, playgrounds roped off and hair salons closed within days if the available intensive-care capacity in their areas dips below a 15 percent threshold, the Times reported.
The new restrictions will last for at least three weeks, strictly limit store capacity and allow restaurants to serve only takeout or delivery.
“If we don’t act now our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “If we don’t act now, we’ll continue to see our death rate climb.”
Other states have also taken stronger actions to slow the spread of coronavirus.
In anticipation of a deadly holiday season, Gov. John Carney of Delaware on Thursday issued a stay-at-home advisory asking people not to gather indoors with anyone outside their household, the Times reported.
In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently ordered a three-week shutdown that closed casinos and movie theaters and suspended in-person high school and college classes. Oregon, Washington State, Minnesota and cities from Los Angeles to Philadelphia have also re-imposed restrictions.