President-elect Joe Biden on Monday implored the public to comply with mask-wearing following a briefing with his newly announced COVID-19 advisory council, during remarks in Wilmington, Delaware.
Appearing to respond to Pfizer’s announcement earlier Monday that independently reviewed data suggest that its COVID-19 vaccine is found to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing infections from the coronavirus, Biden outlined expectations for how his administration will respond to the pandemic.
After stating that the process for a COVID-19 vaccine approval must be “grounded in science and fully transparent” so that Americans can be assured of its efficacy, Biden said that even if a COVID-19 vaccine is approved, it “will not be widely available for many months yet to come.”
Biden then said “the challenge before us right now is still immense and growing” now that COVID-19 cases are surging nationwide, and that there’s a need for “bold action to fight this pandemic” as the country approaches a “dark winter.”
The President-elect emphasized the need to “end the politicization” of measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 now that the 2020 presidential election is over.
“The election is over. It’s time to put aside the partisanship and the rhetoric designed to demonize one another,” Biden said. “It’s time to end the politicization of basic responsible public health steps like mask wearing and social distancing.”
Citing CDC Director Robert Redfield, Biden implored the public to recognize that “a mask remains the most potent weapon against the virus” and to take the practice seriously because Pfizer’s progress on a COVID-19 vaccine “does not change that urgent reality.”
“I won’t be president until January 20th, but my message today is to everyone is this: it doesn’t matter who you voted for, where you stood before election day, it doesn’t matter your party, your point of view,” Biden said. “We can save tens of thousands of lives if everyone will just wear a mask for the next few months. Not Democrat or Republican lives, American lives.”
Biden further hammered into his message of imploring the public to comply with mask-wearing by saying that it is “not a political statement, but it is a good way to start pulling the country together” so that the country gets closer to a return to normalcy before the pandemic.
“I want to be very clear: the goal of mask wearing is not to make your life less comfortable or take something away from you, it’s to give something back to all of us, a normal life,” Biden said. “The goal is to get back to normal as fast as possible. Masks are critical in doing that.”
Biden concluded that mask-wearing “won’t be forever” but will be instrumental for the time being so that the country can return to “the lives and connections we shared before the pandemic.”
“It doesn’t matter whether or not we always agree with one another, it doesn’t matter who you voted for, we are Americans and our country is under threat,” Biden said.
Biden’s latest remarks double down on his statement reacting to Pfizer’s development on its COVID-19 vaccine, which the President-elect said he and his staff learned about on Sunday night.
In his statement, Biden noted that “the end of the battle against COVID-19 is still months away,” and that even if the COVID-19 vaccine is approved in late November, “it will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country.”
“Today’s announcement promises the chance to change that next year, but the tasks before us remain the same,” Biden said in the statement.
Watch Biden’s remarks below: