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Washington Post/ Biden asks Fauci to serve as chief medical adviser, will urge Americans to wear masks during first 100 days
President-elect Joe Biden told CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday that he will ask Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days after he takes office, in a sign of how Biden's approach to the virus will be dramatically different to President Donald Trump's response.
"Just 100 days to mask, not forever. 100 days. And I think we'll see a significant reduction," Biden told Tapper during his first joint interview with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris since winning the election. The full interview will air at 9 p.m. ET.
Biden said that where he has authority, like in federal buildings or in interstate transportation on airplanes and buses, he will issue a standing order that masks must be worn. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that wearing a mask can help protect the both the person wearing the mask and those around them from transmitting the virus.
Biden also said he has asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to be a chief medical adviser and part of his Covid-19 response team when his administration begins next year.
Biden said the conversation happened on Thursday afternoon. CNN reported earlier in the day that Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force, had a planned meeting with Biden's transition team.
President-elect Joe Biden said during an interview Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear masks for 100 days, starting the day he is inaugurated, in order to drive down the number of coronavirus cases.
Biden, during an interview with CNN, said he will ask Americans to mask up, but only for a limited period.
"The first day I'm inaugurated I'm going to ask the public for 100 days to mask," Biden said. "Just 100, not forever -- 100 days."
"I think we'll see a significant reduction that occurs with vaccinations and masking to drive down the numbers considerably."
Biden's comments come a day after the U.S. recorded a new high in coronavirus-related fatalities on Wednesday at 2,804, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s top infectious-disease expert, said Thursday that he plans to stay on in his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases after the Biden administration takes office.
In an interview with CBS News’s Major Garrett, Fauci said that he has spoken several times with Ronald A. Klain, Biden’s incoming chief of staff, and that he would meet by teleconference later Thursday with the entire Biden “landing team,” a group that facilitates the presidential transition.
“Today will be the first day where there will be substantive discussions about the . . . transition, between me and the Biden team,” Fauci said during a podcast interview with Garrett.
Before Trump gave the go-ahead to the General Services Administration to allow the transition to proceed, Biden had warned that the delay meant that his team would potentially be weeks or months behind in planning its response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 273,000 people in the United States.
Jonathan Van-Tam made the remarks 0n Wednesday alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a Downing Street coronavirus briefing.
Professor Van-Tam said, according to The Sun: “I don’t think we’re going to eradicate coronavirus, ever. I think it’s going to be with humankind forever. I think we may get to a point where coronavirus becomes a seasonal problem. I don’t want to draw too many parallels with ‘flu, but possibly that is the kind of way we’d learn to live with it.”
He continued: “Do I think there will come a big moment where we have a massive party and throw our masks and hand sanitiser and say, ‘That’s it, it’s behind us’, like the end of the war? No, I don’t.
“I think those kinds of habits that we have learned from… will perhaps persist for many years, and that may be a good thing if they do.”
When Prime Minister Johnson asked the medical officer to clarify, Van-Tam said that he did not think the government “will continue to have to recommend social distancing, masks, and hand sanitiser forever and a day”.
“I hope we will get back to a much more normal world. But, the point I was trying to make was — do I think, possibly, some of those personal habits for some people will persist longer, and, perhaps, become enduring for some people, yes, I think that’s possible.”