The head of the Trump administration’s efforts to speed up a coronavirus vaccine on Sunday endorsed President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to ask Americans to wear masks for the first 100-days of his administration.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Moncef Slaoui, the scientific head of Operation Warp Speed, said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It’s never too late.”
“We all need to take our precaution, have our masks, wash our hands, and keep our distance, remain aware that this virus is a killer,” Slaoui said.
An initial vaccine could be just days away, officials are predicting, with an FDA advisory panel slated to meet this week to review a vaccine produced by Pfizer. But with massive inoculation months away and coronavirus cases and deaths soaring, Slaoui said precautions are still needed. A million new cases were diagnosed in the United States in the first five days of December.
“We have a vaccine. There is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “But we will not all have the vaccine in our arms before May or June. So, we need to be very cautious and vigilant.”
Biden, who frequently emphasized mask-wearing during the presidential campaign, announced Thursday that he’ll ask Americans to wear a mask for the first 100 days after his inauguration to help blunt the spread of the virus.
Anthony Fauci, the top government infectious disease expert, said Friday that he’d spoken to Biden about the plan and called it “a good idea.”
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ratcheted up its mask-wearing guidance. The public health agency for the first time is recommending the people wear masks at all times when they’re not at home.