Joe Biden: Wearing a Mask Is a ‘Patriotic Duty’ to Protect Other People

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said during a town hall on Monday that President Donald Trump bears ultimate responsbility for contracting COVID-19 due to his refusal to wear a mask.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Lester Holt asked: “65% of Americans think the president bears some responsibility for contracting this virus. Do you agree?”

Biden replied: “Look. Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying, ‘masks don’t matter, social distancing doesn’t matter,’ I think is responsible for what happens to them.”

Biden gestured toward the audience to further his point.

“If these people took off their masks, and they all have them on, I noticed, and just all of a sudden got in a gaggle and started talking to one another, they’re taking responsibility that,” Biden said. “In fact, they should be held responsible, because every major scientist and doctor and immunologist has said that’s a very dangerous thing to do.”

Wearing a mask is a “patriotic duty” that science has determined is necessary, the former vice president explained:

The particles and droplets can stay in the air for a long time, longer than they thought. It can go beyond ten feet. There’s all kinds of things they’ve learned. I view wearing this mask not so much as protecting me, but as a patriotic responsibility. All the tough guys say, ‘oh, I’m not wearing a mask, I’m not afraid.’ Well, be afraid for your husband, your wife, your son, your daughter, your neighbor, your coworker – that’s who you’re protecting having this mask on, and it should be viewed as a patriotic duty.

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The Centers for Disease Control updated its COVID-19 guidance on Monday to include evidence that suggests that the virus may be spreadable through the air.

“Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example while singing or exercising,” the CDC said. In instances such as that, the coronavirus “became concentrated enough to spread the virus to other people,” and in some cases was transmitted “shortly after the person with COVID-19 had left” the room, the agency said.

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