President-elect Joe Biden apparently wrapped up public appearances for the day pretty early (there’s a lot to get to in those 5 or so hours of lucidity he gets per day), neglecting to say if he plans on mandating mask-wearing, though he has said he would be open to doing so in the past.
But how exactly is Biden going to make sure Americans, weary of following all these social distancing rules after nine months, toe the line? By doing what Europe did: Imposing onerous fines and penalties.
And Dr. Marc Siegel, a frequent Fox News contributor who has both examined and interviewed President Trump, said during an interview that a punitive approach to masks might have an adverse impact on wearing, stoking more public anger, rather than more compliance.
“I think masks are quite useful, but they have a place and they’re not the be all and end all,” Siegel said. “I’m worried that mandating this with fines and such may actually lead to more of a rebellion against it.”
Dr. Siegel added that deciding when and where masks are necessary is often a judgment call for people following the CDC guidelines, and while masks should be worn properly, both inside and, when necessary, outdoors, they are not the end-all, be-all of proper COVID-19 prevention.
Rather than placing the focus on wearing masks, Dr. Siegel said limitations on people standing or shopping in close proximity indoors would be a more sensible approach.
As for social distancing, Biden’s plan says it will be used as more of a “dial” approach that will determine the risk of spread using evidence-based guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a move Siegel says is a mistake.
“I don’t think social distancing is dial. I think masks are a dial,” Siegel said. “Social distancing is something we should just be doing right now. You never know how much virus was in the community.”
He believes physical distancing is actually more important to curbing the spread than masks are.
“I think physical distancing is more important than masks,” Siegel argued. “If you’re 10 feet away from someone, you’re not going to get the virus. If you’re one foot away with a mask, you might.”
Dr. Siegel’s comments come just a day after millions of Americans flooded into the streets of cities like NYC to celebrate the end of President Trump’s “fascist” rule (though the process isn’t quite over, as Sen Susan Collins noted earlier).
While many still wore masks, the lack of social distancing raises serious concerns about encouraging spread. Meanwhile, Biden’s coordinated rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech trial results with WSJ and the rest of the media serving as the main conduit shows that he’s already working to to convince the American people to trust the government when it comes to vaccines. And moving ahead with a dramatic shift in the strategy at this point wouldn’t exactly instill confidence in the people with their hands on the wheel.