Biden lashes out at Republican lawmakers for not wearing masks during Capitol riot
Washington: President-elect Joe Biden on Friday lashed out at Republican lawmakers who were seen without face masks while huddling in a secure location during the mob attack on the US Capitol last week despite the massive spike in daily COVID-19 cases.
"Quite frankly it was shocking to see members of the Congress while the Capitol was under siege by a deadly mob of thugs refuse to wear a mask while they were in secure locations," Biden said during remarks to announce his vaccine plan in Wilmington, Delaware, as quoted by The Hill.
"What the hell is the matter with them? It's time to grow up," Biden continued, "For God's sake, wear a mask if not for yourself, for your loved ones, for your country."
The Hill reported that as many as four members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19 since the attack by a pro-Trump mob last week. Some House Republicans were seen in holding rooms not wearing face coverings despite the pandemic.
Public health experts for months have often said that masks are "a critical tool for stopping the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19", but the practice has become "politicized" in part due to President Donald Trump's frequent refusal to wear one in public.
Biden called it "stupid" that wearing a mask in public spaces had become a partisan issue. "I hope we now know this is not a political issue, this is about saving lives,"
Biden said and continued, "This is a patriotic act. We are asking you, we are in a war with this virus." Biden also said that the coronavirus vaccine rollout in the US till now has been a "dismal failure".
Speaking a day after announcing USD 1.9 trillion relief package, Biden said that the vaccination plan emphasizes a bolstered federal response, rather than leaving key details to the states.
Biden has vowed to get 100 million people inoculated in the administration's first 100 days, and on Friday said he was "convinced" it could be done. The US continues to be the worst-affected country by the COVID-19 pandemic reporting over 23.5 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.