President Joe Biden has suggested that wearing a mask may be mandatory “through the next year.” Speaking at an event at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, Biden stated that Americans may need to continue to wear masks to “save lives,” calling it a “patriotic responsibility.”
According to Fox News, health officials have stressed that even with the distribution of effective vaccines, safety protocols will have to remain in place until herd immunity is reached. Sharon Peacock, the director of the COVID-19 Genomics UK consortium, has stated that there are growing concerns that mutations to the coronavirus may slow the process of achieving herd immunity.
“I had a little discussion with my friends behind me, Dr. Collins and Dr. Fauci, about whether or not I should take my mask off,” Biden stated. “And the truth is, although we’re more than 10 feet away, I think it’s important that I not. It’s critically important the message — and I realize I’m speaking to a vast majority — at least, I hope I am — of the folks out here at NIH. You know that wearing this mask through the next year here can save lives — a significant number of lives.”
“We remain in the teeth of this pandemic. January of 2021 was the deadliest month we’ve had. We lost over 100,000 — 100,000 of our fellow citizens,” Biden continued. “We’re on track to cross 500,000 dead Americans this next month. The new strains emerging create immense challenges, and masking is still the easiest thing to do to save lives. But we need everyone to mask up.”
“And, by the way, I know it’s a pain in the neck, but it’s a patriotic responsibility. We’re in the middle of a war with this virus,” Biden added. “It’s a patriotic responsibility — not only if you care about your family, if you care about your fellow Americans. Do you realize more people have died in the last 12 months — in the last 12 months than died in all four years in World War Two? All four years.”
“That’s why I asked what the full extent of my authority as president of the United States could be. I signed an executive order that required masking on all federal property, on modes of travel like planes, trains, and buses across interstate commerce,” he concluded. “And I’ve been calling on governors — Republican and Democrat — and mayors — Republican and Democrat — and local officials to institute mask mandates within their jurisdictions. We need everyone to do their part for themselves, their loved ones, and yes, for their country. Mask up, America. Mask up.”