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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is wading into the politically treacherous issue of mask-wearing to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, by calling for a nationwide mandate for wearing masks.
Although wearing masks, along with social distancing, has been recommended by most public health professionals to slow the transmission of the virus, Donald Trump and other Republican partisans have turned mask-wearing into a “culture war” flashpoint.
Most Republican political leaders have been unwilling to put any sort of mask mandates into place.
That makes Biden’s call for a national mandate all the more striking.
“This is not about Democrat, Republican, or independent. It’s about saving Americans’ lives. So let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide, starting immediately,” the former vice president said. “And we will save lives. The estimates are we’ll save over 40,000 lives in the next three months if that is done.”
In all, more than 5.2 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the United States, including more than 160,000 deaths.
Biden’s opponent, incumbent Donald Trump, has been widely panned for his federal response to the coronavirus pandemic.
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