Joe Biden said in a Thursday address that he had discussed implementing a national mask mandate with a number of state governors.
Biden and vice-president elect Kamala Harris spoke with members of the National Governors’ Association on Thursday, including Democrat Andrew Cuomo of New York and Republican Kay Ivey of Alabama.
“We discussed the implementation of a national mask mandate,” Biden said. “Ten governors, Democrat and Republican, have imposed masking requirements and recognized the need for universal masking….It’s not a political statement. It’s a patriotic duty.”
Members of the White House coronavirus task force, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Robert Redfield and Dr. Deborah Birx, also encouraged Americans on Thursday to wear masks as coronavirus cases surge throughout the U.S.
Biden also promised not to implement wide-ranging economic restrictions in response to a surge in cases.
“I am not going to shut down the economy. Period. I’m going to shut down the virus. That’s what I’m going to shut down,” Biden said. “I’ll say it again – no national shutdown. No national shutdown.”
President Trump has refused to concede defeat in the general election, alleging that Democrats “stole” the election by means of widespread voter fraud. The Trump campaign legal team, including lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sydney Powell, made various claims of voting irregularities at a press conference on Thursday. However, the Trump campaign has not contested enough ballots to overturn Biden’s vote lead in any state.
Biden said Trump was being “totally irresponsible” in refusing to concede, and criticized Trump for forbidding his administration from working with Biden’s transition team.
“There is no excuse not to share the data [on coronavirus outbreaks] and let us begin to plan,” for transfer of power, Biden told reporters.