• Governors and mayors around the country will reportedly begin getting calls this week about the Biden mask mandate that the president-elect wants to encourage them to implement around the country.
  • President-elect Biden also on Monday unveiled the members of his new coronavirus task force, which will help him develop a coordinated national strategy to confront the virus.
  • Biden during brief public remarks Monday also stressed the importance of wearing face masks.

President-elect Joe Biden gave brief public remarks on Monday, following a private meeting with members from his newly unveiled COVID-19 council that will advise him on a coordinated national response to the coronavirus pandemic. Biden’s task force is comprised almost exclusively of doctors, and those names were unveiled Monday morning at around the same time as results were being disseminated regarding Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, which has been found to prevent more than 90% of infections of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Around mid-morning, the President-elect himself stepped up to a microphone for remarks that were carried by TV news as well as live-streamed to Twitter and Facebook. Soon enough, he held a face mask in the air and talked up the reasons behind the Biden mask mandate that he’ll reportedly start trying to convince US mayors and governors to implement this week.

“This is the single most effective thing we can do to stop COVID,” Biden said during his brief public update, which can you watch below, as he held a face mask up in the air. “We could save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months.”

It had already been assumed that face masks would be an important point of the Biden coronavirus strategy, which we wrote about over the weekend in terms of other components that Biden’s strategy is likely to entail. On Monday, meanwhile, we got an even clearer picture of the importance the Biden administration will place on the wearing of face masks.

According to news accounts, Biden this week is planning to phone governors and mayors of major cities around the US to encourage them to implement face mask mandates if they haven’t already. As a kind of Plan B, if the governor isn’t supportive, Biden will “go to the mayors in the state and ask them to lead,” according to a Biden adviser, speaking to NBC News. “In many states, there is the capacity of mayors to institute mandates.”

Biden is also reportedly planning to go farther, via his consideration of a mask mandate for anyone who enters a federal building. Over the weekend, Utah’s Republican Governor Gary Herbert became the latest of some 20 governors who’ve already implemented mask mandates, which presumably saves Biden a few calls he’d otherwise be making along with the rest this week.

Biden’s naming on Monday of his coronavirus task force — co-chaired by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former FDA commissioner David Kessler, and Yale University’s Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith — came as the US continues to see the nation set terrifying new records amid the pandemic. On Friday, the US set another new coronavirus record by recording almost 133,000 COVID-19 cases — which also saw the fourth consecutive day of 1,000 daily deaths in the US from the virus.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.