Expressing a message of unity, he said: “I beg you, wear a mask. Do it for yourself. Do it for your neighbor. A mask is not a political statement. But it’s a good way to start bringing the country closer together.
“The purpose of wearing a mask is not to make your life less comfortable, or to take anything away from you. It is to give back something to us all, a normal life. ”
Mr. Biden also claimed that many lives could be saved – in a country that was struck by deep divisions during the presidential campaign.
He said: “No matter who you vote for, we can save tens of thousands of lives if everyone wears a mask in the next few months. ”
During the pandemic, there have been more than 9.9 million cases of coronavirus and more than 237,000 deaths in the United States – the highest of any country in the world.
And the President-elect has warned that an additional 200,000 Americans could die before a COVID-19[feminine[femininethe vaccine is widely deployed.
Mr Biden, who was frequently seen wearing a mask during the White House race in stark contrast to his rival Donald Trump, said the challenge facing the country coronavirus is still “huge” and “growing” – despite the announcement of a vaccine breakthrough.
The one under development by Pfizer and BioNTech has been shown to be 90% effective to prevent people from contracting the virus.
Mr Biden welcomed the announcement, but warned Americans must still take mask-wearing and social distancing seriously.
And he said no effective vaccine would be widely available for many months.
Mr Biden, who will not officially become the next leader of the United States until his inauguration in January, has been briefed on the outbreak by his newly appointed medical expert working group.
He and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris took notes during the virtual briefing at a theater in Wilmington, Delaware, as the members introduced themselves.
The task force of more than a dozen experts has been set up to provide advice to the next commander-in-chief on how to tackle the spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
The first to speak at the meeting was Dr David Kessler, a former Commissioner of the Food Drug Administration under former Presidents George HW Bush and Bill Clinton.
He co-chairs the task force with Dr Vivek Murthy, who served as general surgeon under former President Barack Obama.
Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, Associate Professor and Associate Dean at Yale University, is also co-chair. His research focuses on promoting equal health care for marginalized populations.
Rick Bright, a demoted whistleblower after speaking out against the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, is also in the group. Mr. Bright was the head of the Authority for Advanced Biomedical Research and Development.
Mr Biden said experts would “help take Biden-Harris’ COVID plan and convert it into a plan of action.”
He promised: “This plan will be built on a scientific basis. It will be built out of compassion, empathy and concern. I will spare no effort – or commitment – to reverse this pandemic. ”
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Mr. Biden makes the coronavirus a major feature of its victory speech during a drive-in rally in Delaware on Saturday night, after finally being expected to win the 2020 election early in the day.
“We can’t fix the economy, restore our vitality, or savor life’s most precious moments – hugging a grandchild, birthdays, weddings, graduations, all the moments that matter most to us – as long as we don’t have this virus under control, ”he said.
The President-elect’s website says his administration will double the number of drive-thru testing centers, increase the supply of PPE, and expand oversight by China’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent incoming threats.
It is a distinctly different tone from that of Mr. Trump, who still refuses to concede the election and has been criticized for his actions and comments on COVID-19.
The caught the disease in October, following an event at the White House to announce the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice where most attendees gathered without following social distancing rules or wearing masks.