Joe Biden units out an in depth plan to combat the coronavirus as new infections emerge
U.S. Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden speaks about his plan to beat COVID-19 in Wilmington, Delaware on October 23, 2020.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden set out on Friday exactly how a Biden administration would tackle the coronavirus crisis, a day after the US hit nearly a record high per day in new coronavirus cases.
Biden said that if elected he would begin executing his plan even before it is privy to it.
"I will be reaching out to every governor in every state, red and blue, as well as mayors and local officials during the transition to find out what support they need and how much they need," Biden said during a speech at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware.
"I will ask the new Congress to put an invoice on my desk by the end of January with all the necessary resources so that both our public health and economic responses can be seen through to the end."
This is how Biden described every step of his plan.
- Masking: Biden said he would go to any governor and ask them to issue a mask mandate. If the governors refused, as has happened in several states, Biden said he would contact local officials. He also said he would mandate masks in all federal buildings and on all interstate transport.
- Testing: The former vice president said he will launch a national testing plan that aims to run as many tests each day as the U.S. currently does each week, which equates to roughly 7 million tests a day. Biden would also build lab capacity, hire a national corps of contact tracers, and make sure the tests are free and accessible regardless of immigration status.
- Personal Protective Equipment: Biden intends to use "the full force of Defense Manufacturing Act" to promote domestic manufacturing of masks, gloves, gowns, and other equipment, including extensive N95 masks for healthcare workers. Biden also said he would "appoint a fully empowered supply commander to fill in the blanks".
- Unified Scientific Guidelines for Reopening: A Biden government will "provide consistent, reliable, trustworthy, detailed nationwide guidance and technical support for and the resources to reopen safely." Biden also said the government would offer consultation and technical advice "so that people have a place to go with their questions".
- Treatments and Vaccines: Biden's plan would put an emphasis on equitable and widespread delivery of therapeutics in the near future and eventually a free coronavirus vaccine, he said. But Biden acknowledged that even if a vaccine turns out to be effective, "It will be many months before a vaccine becomes widely available."
The speech revealed the sharp gap between President Donald Trump's approach to combating the virus, which relies heavily on shifting authority and responsibility for responding to pandemics to states, and Biden's more central plan.
A Trump campaign spokesman did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment on Biden's speech.
Only eleven days before election day, Biden's speech crystallized out his final argument and summarized his overarching election promise: namely, the return to responsible, reliable and steady leadership.
"Imagine a day in the not too distant future when you can have dinner with your friends and family, and maybe even go to the movies," Biden said, painting a picture of everyday American life that used to sound banal now but seems out of reach for many.
Meanwhile, Trump has continued to downplay the severity of the global pandemic that has so far claimed the lives of more than 220,000 Americans. This is the worst result among the industrialized nations.
During the final presidential debate in Nashville on Thursday, Trump insisted the country go "around the corner" and the virus "go away", although cases are increasing in most states. "I say we learn to live with it," he added.
Biden shot back: "People learn to die with it."