President-elect Biden urges Americans to wear masks
President-elect Joe Biden cheered promising news about the development of an effective coronavirus vaccine but also urged Americans to wear masks to slow the spread of the virus.
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced strong results from a vaccine trial and said it was on track to file an emergency use application with regulators later this month.
Biden warned Americans against complacency. He called on U.S. residents to be aggressive in wearing masks and practicing social distance as cases of the virus surge.
"I won't be president until Jan. 20 but message today 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. We could save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months. Not Democratic or Republican lives, American lives," Biden said. "Please, I implore you, wear a mask. Do it for yourself. Do it for your neighbor. A mask is not a political statement, but it is a good way to start pulling the country together."
The U.S. has confirmed more than 10 million coronavirus cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. More than 237,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19-related causes.
Biden also said the U.S. needs to ramp up production of medical-grade personal protective equipment.
With The Associated Press
EXCERPTS FROM BIDEN
"We're going to get states, cities and tribes, the test and the supplies they need. We're going to protect vulnerable populations who are at risk, most at risk of this virus. Older Americans and those with preexisting conditions. We're going to address the health and economic disparities that mean this virus is hitting the Black, Latino, Asian-American, Pacific Islanders, Native American communities harder than white communities. Focusing on these communities is one of our priorities — not an afterthought. The bottom line: I will spare no effort to turn this pandemic around once we're sworn in on January 20, to get our kids back to school safely, our businesses growing and our economy running at full speed again, and to get an approved vaccine manufactured and distributed as quickly as possible to as many Americans as possible, free of charge."