President-elect Joe Biden wants a national mask mandate as soon as he sits down as president. Initially, he plans to go through each state governor to talk about enforcing mask-wearing. If any governor refuses, he will approach mayors and county officials instead.
Masks have a Place
Fox News medical expert Dr. Marc Siegel said masks do help prevent the coronavirus’ spread. In fact, they are “the icing on the physical distancing cake.” This meant that people must wear masks indoors and outdoors. Siegel thinks that imposing a mask mandate may backfire.
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Dr. Siegel said: “I think masks are quite useful, but they have a place and they’re not the be-all and end-all. I’m worried that mandating this with fines and such may actually lead to more of a rebellion against it.” He suggested that the level of exposure risk can determine the use of masks. As such, he sees this approach better than just mandating mask-wearing everywhere.
For social distancing, Biden wants a “dial approach.” Each county depends on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means that the CDC will determine each area’s risk of spread.
Siegel believes the approach is the opposite of what can help. He believes physical distancing is more important than masks. Siegel said: “I don’t think social distancing is the dial. I think masks are a dial. “Social distancing is something we should just be doing right now. You never know how much virus was in the community.”
“I think physical distancing is more important than masks,” Siegel noted. “If you’re 10 feet away from someone, you’re not going to get the virus. If you’re one foot away with a mask, you might.”
Biden’s campaign emphasized that he will always “listen to science.” However, Biden has yet to address concerns that “victory” celebrations might contribute to the spread of coronavirus.
In the past few days, thousands of Americans took to the streets of major cities in celebration. Crowds from New York City, Washington, and Philadelphia did not observe social distancing. The majority of participants did wear masks.
Winter is Coming
The US has 9.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases with 237,000 dead, according to Johns Hopkins University. As winter is fast approaching, medical experts are afraid that the coronavirus outbreak can get worse. In fact, with lots of people remaining indoors, the chances of spreading the virus are higher.
Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies epidemiologist, said “This is a very scary moment. People are feeling some fatigue. But the virus is not. It’s continuing to circulate.” Meanwhile, forty-three out of fifty states reported rising cases this month. Colorado Governor Jared Polis said Covid-19-related hospitalizations were the “highest they’ve ever been.”
Is a Federal Mask Mandate Constitutional?
Biden recognizes the difficulty of a federal mandate. Accordingly, he promised to mandate masks on all federal-owned property, an executive order with a wide reach. Also, federal transit law can require masks on public transportation.
South Texas College of Law professor Josh Blackman sees a federal mandate would be difficult to enforce. As such, there will be gray areas. This includes people walking outside or traveling on interstate highways within a state. “Even if Congress enacted a statute that said everyone must wear a mask, I don’t think that statute would be constitutional. I don’t think Congress has the power to force people to wear masks, anywhere, at any point in time,” Blackman said.
“People can’t be forced to put a mask on their face by the federal government. States can but not the federal government. Once you go beyond people in federal facilities, you’re really intruding on what the state’s responsible for,” he noted.
When Will Biden Start Issuing Mandates?
Even as media outlets proclaimed Biden, Trump insisted to continue the count. During the weekend, he gave a statement that “The simple fact is this election is far from over.” In addition, he said he “will not rest until the American people have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands.”
By November 9, President Donald Trump has yet to concede the election to Mr. Biden. As such, the Republican party is now at odds on what to do next. First, do they convince Trump to accept his defeat? Or do they support him when he takes his case to court? Nevertheless, those who congratulated Biden for his election, including former president George W. Bush, clarified that they respect Trump’s prerogative to seek legal remedies.
With over 120,000 new cases and around a thousand deaths daily, the threat is bound to get worse as winter approaches. Given the assessment, should we start considering new policies and new ways to combat the virus?
Watch this as ABC News reported during the presidential campaign that Democrat Joe Biden called for a nationwide mask mandate:
Do you agree that Joe Biden should issue a federal mask mandate to help curb coronavirus infections? More importantly, do you think people will follow a federal mask mandate? Let us know what you think of this by sharing your comments below.