US’ Joe Biden asked Anthony Fauci to stay on in his administration to help combat the coronavirus pandemic, the president-elect said Thursday.
Speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Biden said he spoke with the country’s top infectious disease expert earlier in the day, asking him to remain in his position leading the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Biden also asked Fauci to serve as his chief medical adviser and on his Covid team.
Fauci has been in his NIAID role dating to Ronald Reagan’s administration and has grown to become one of the most trusted authorities on the coronavirus across both parties.
Biden also said he would ask Americans to wear masks for 100 days after his inauguration in a nationwide effort to curb the spread of the disease. Biden has floated mask mandates in the past, but the 100-day time element adds a new detail to the next administration’s Covid policy.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have made it a point to publicly wear masks and socially distance their campaign events — a stark contrast from President Donald Trump.
“The president and vice president, we set the pattern by wearing masks,” Biden said Thursday.
A 100-day timeframe would be enough for about 100 million people — roughly those who have the greatest vulnerabilities to the virus — to receive a vaccine, according to estimates from Moncef Slaoui, scientific head of Operation Warp Speed.