Joe Biden called on governors to issue a three-month mandatory outdoor mask mandate on Thursday, telling reporters after receiving a coronavirus briefing that experts say it could save over 40,000 lives.

Why it matters: Biden was more aggressive and specific than he has been in previous calls to wear a mask, arguing that it will allow children to return to school sooner, businesses to reopen and help "get our country back on track."

  • “Every single American should be wearing a mask, when they're outside for the next three months, at a minimum. Every governor should mandate mandatory mask-wearing,” Biden said after a coronavirus briefing he received with his running mate, Kamala Harris, in Wilmington, Del.
  • “Look — this is America. Be a patriot. Protect your fellow citizens. Step up,” Biden said.
  • "That’s what real leadership looks like,” Harris said when taking the stage after Biden's remarks. “We just witnessed real leadership.” The pair did not take questions from reporters.

The other side: President Trump was among the many Republicans that were skeptical about the public health benefits of masks, at one point sharing a tweet that appeared to mock Biden for wearing one in public.

  • In late July, Trump shifted course and called for Americans to wear masks. But he told Fox News that he would not consider a national mask mandate because he wants Americans to have "a certain freedom," adding: "I don't agree with the statement that if everybody wear a mask everything disappears."
  • The next day, Trump tweeted a picture of himself wearing a mask and commented that "many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 32,390,204 — Total deaths: 985,302 — Total recoveries: 22,286,345Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m ET: 7,020,967 — Total deaths: 203,481 — Total recoveries: 2,710,183 — Total tests: 98,476,600Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.

Coronavirus cases rise in 22 states

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Texas added a backlog of cases on Sept. 22, removing that from the 7-day average Texas' cases increased 28.3%; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

The coronavirus is surging once again across the U.S., with cases rising in 22 states over the past week.

The big picture: There isn't one big event or sudden occurrence that explains this increase. We simply have never done a very good job containing the virus, despite losing 200,000 lives in just the past six months, and this is what that persistent failure looks like.

Updated 22 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The number of deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 980,000 worldwide on Thursday.

By the numbers: Globally, more than 32 million million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Johns Hopkins data shows.