The United States has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic as much as the rest of the world. But, the fact that the USA is facing the pandemic in the middle of a presidential election, is something no one saw coming. With COVID-19 being one of the major talking points, and the different approaches taken by each candidate, the statements made by the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, about a national mask mandate are very interesting. Let’s talk more about this.
The role of COVID-19 in the 2020 elections
It was easy to predict that the COVID-19 pandemic would influence the elections heavily. In fact, the pandemic has changed everything, from the way the candidates campaign, to how people are going to vote, and it has even become a key point of debate the way each candidate wants to handle the situation.
Both candidates have adopted very different stands on the virus. The president, Donald Trump, seems to take it more lightly, and underestimates the use of the face mask as the most important measure to prevent the spread. On the other hand, Joe Biden has held back in his campaigning, making social distancing and the use of face coverings the main recommendation in his stand on the coronavirus.
Conventions have been canceled, and the campaigns are being held primarily online. Likewise, many states have been forced to change the way people are going to vote, with a lot of uncertainty on whether or not these mail methods are 100% safe and accurate.
The virus has also changed people’s priorities. Right now, the candidate’s stands on public health are now one of the most discussed elements of the presidential race, since COVID-19 isn’t expected to end soon, and will likely be sticking around for a while.
The Joe Biden national mask mandate
In August of this year, the Democratic candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris, made a statement about the use of masks around the country. After a briefing by public health experts, Joe Biden said to reporters that the use of masks should be required by the governors of each state.
Biden suggested that the mass use of face masks could save up to 40,000 lives during the following three months, and expressed his desire to institute a nationwide mask mandate. According to the candidate, the overwhelming evidence that the use of face masks decreases the spread of the virus.
In September, however, Biden said that he may not have the authority to impose this mandate. He was asked that, if elected, could an executive order be enforced to wear masks if governors refused, and his response wasn’t very definitive. He said that his team thinks they have the legal authority to do so, but he can’t guarantee that yet.
He finished his statement saying that his team thinks he would have the authority based on the degree of crisis in each state, emphasizing that, if he had the legal authority to sign the executive order to make masks mandatory, we would definitely do it.
Now, in October, the former Vice President has stated that he didn’t think the imposition of a national mandate in regards to face masks would be possible, saying his team and him concluded that it wouldn’t be legal. However, he did say that, as president, he could require the use of face masks at least on federal property as an executive order.
He continued saying that he would use the bully pulpit of the presidency to urge county executives, mayors, and governors around the country to require the use of face masks. He has the intention to call governors to Washington and talk about the measures for COVID-19.
The Coronavirus and why masks are important to prevent its spread
The new species of coronavirus discovered at the end of last year is a respiratory infectious disease, like the other coronavirus known to infect humans. While most coronaviruses cause very mild flu-like symptoms, the SARS-CoV-2, the name given to the new coronavirus, can cause a wide range of symptoms that vary in severity and location.
While the majority of the cases are asymptomatic or mild, with respiratory symptoms like dry cough and sore throat, there’s a portion of the population that are at high risk of developing a more severe form of the disease. And, while the size of this percentage is relatively small, when so many people get infected at the same time, this portion of the population is more considerable.
Right now, the one thing we know for sure, is that face coverings and masks are the best resource we have to stop the spread of the disease. Since this is a respiratory virus, the droplets released while we speak, cough, or sneeze are the vehicles to infect other people. So, virus protection right now consists of preventing the release of these particles, since a lot of people are asymptomatic and can spread the virus without knowing it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of disposable face masks like surgical masks or reusable masks in public, and when you’re around people who don’t live with you at home. Additionally, they urge the general public to not use medical-grade face masks, like the N95 masks or KN95 masks, which are a critical supply for healthcare workers. These masks offer the most antiviral protection, and they filter out other particles like smoke, dust, or the flu virus.
Remember, anyone who uses face masks, along with other protection like face shields, is staying protected. There are a lot of N95 respirators for sale you can buy easily in bulk or wholesale, including 3M N95 masks like the 3M 8511 or the 3M 8210 models. There are even options for kids, so there’s no excuse. Stay safe!