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Biden Urging

Biden, Urging Face Masks, Calls Trump a ‘Fool’ for Not Wearing One – The New York Times

Joseph Biden, in his first in-person interview since the coronavirus curtailed his campaign, suggested the president was being “falsely masculine’’ by refusing to wear a mask.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Sydney Ember

“He’s a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way,” Mr. Biden said in an interview with Dana Bash of CNN, his first in-person interview since the coronavirus crisis took him off the campaign trail. Castigating Mr. Trump for “this macho stuff,” Mr. Biden accused him of “stoking deaths” and aggravating cultural divisions over mask-wearing.

The interview, conducted outside Mr. Biden’s home in Wilmington, Del., and with Mr. Biden and Ms. Bash seated 12 feet apart, occurred a day after he appeared in public for the first time in more than two months, visiting a veterans memorial in Delaware. He and his wife, Jill Biden, both wore black masks as they laid a wreath, cutting a stark visual contrast with Mr. Trump, who has largely declined to wear a mask in public despite federal health recommendations.

Mr. Biden’s rebuke of Mr. Trump was yet another sign that he views the president’s refusal to wear a mask as a vulnerability that makes him appear reckless, while Mr. Biden presents himself as a sober-minded leader. Appearing to put an even finer point on his argument, Mr. Biden on Tuesday evening changed his Twitter avatar to an image of him wearing a mask.

Asked during the interview whether wearing a mask projected strength or weakness, Mr. Biden responded “leadership.”

“Presidents are supposed to lead, not engage in folly and be falsely masculine,” he said. “It reminds me of the guys that I grew up with playing ball. They’d walk around with a ball in their hand, but they didn’t like to hit very much.”

Mr. Biden also addressed his remarks last week in which he suggested that black voters “ain’t black” if they were considering voting for Mr. Trump. “I have never taken the African-American community for granted, never, never, never once,” he said, adding that his words were “a mistake.”

  • Updated May 26, 2020

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      Over 38 million people have filed for unemployment since March. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, data from a Federal Reserve survey released on May 14 showed, and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in people reporting symptoms of chilblains, which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another symptom of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How can I help?

      Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross, and World Central Kitchen has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


Asked if there was a lesson in how he should compete with Mr. Trump, who is known for making insulting comments that he does not apologize for, Mr. Biden again tried to draw a contrast.

“I’m never going to stoop to where he is,’’ Mr. Biden said. “I’m not going to do what he does. He says so many outrageous things.”

Mr. Biden said he hoped to return to the campaign trail but cautioned that the coronavirus crisis was “not over.”

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