President-elect Joe Biden plans to ask all Americans to wear face masks during his administrations first 100 days. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised Americans to wear face masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but there was no federal mandate during President Donald Trump's administration, leaving states and local governments to make their own mandates. Biden also plans to keep Dr. Anthony Fauci as a member of his COVID-19 response team and will ask him to serve as a chief medical advisor.
"Just 100 days to mask, not forever. 100 days. And I think we'll see a significant reduction," Biden told CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday of his plan. Biden said he also plans to issue a standing order for face mask-wearing covering federal building, interstate transportation on airplanes and buses, and other places where he has authority. Biden said he also spoke with Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about having a role in his coronavirus response.
During his interview with Tapper, Biden said he would be "happy" to take a coronavirus vaccine publicly to show it can be trusted. "People have lost faith in the ability of the vaccine to work," he said. "Already the numbers are really staggeringly low, and it matters what the president and vice president do."
On Thursday, Fauci told CBS News' Major Garrett he planned to have meetings with Biden during the transition. "I'm going to be meeting with them today, by Zoom, by virtually. So today will be the first day where there will be substantive discussions about the transition between me and the Biden team," Fauci explained. "I'm very pleased that today we're having the first discussion about a number of things, vaccinations and things like that."
Fauci is not a political appointee and has led the NIAID since 1984. He was not being considered for a position in Biden's cabinet. Instead, Biden will pick Vivek Murthy, who served as surgeon general during President Barack Obama's administration, to reprise that role, reports The Washington Post. Biden also reportedly intends to pick Jeff Zients, a former Obama economic advisor, as coronavirus coordinator. Yale School of Medicine professor Marcella Nunez-Smith will reportedly take a senior position, according to Politico. Biden is still searching for a new secretary for health and human services.