Biden Calls for 'Bold' Action on Novel Coronavirus While Offering Few Specifics
Former Vice President Joe Biden argued on Monday that “bold action” was required to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic over the next few months, but stopped short of offering specific recommendations.
Biden, who made President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic central to his White House bid this election cycle, made the comments at a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware, when announcing the members of his coronavirus advisory task force. Although the event mainly served as an introduction to the 13-medical professionals that will council the former vice president on the outbreak, Biden took a few moments during the press conference to discuss the “immense challenge” before him.
“Although we are not in office yet, I’m just laying out what we expect to do and hope that can be done, some of it, between now and the time we’re sworn in,” the former vice president said. “There is a need for bold action to fight this pandemic.”
“We’re still facing a very dark winter,” Biden added. “There are now nearly 10 million COVID [coronavirus] cases in the United States … infection rates are going up, hospitalizations are going up, and deaths are going up.”
The former vice president proceeded to argue that while there was hope on the horizon, especially with Pfizer announcing on Monday that it developed a vaccine that was shown to be 90 percent effective at combatting the coronavirus in clinical trials, the coming months would be difficult, nonetheless.
“We can’t forgo the important work that needs to be down between now and then to get our country through the worst wave yet in this pandemic,” he said.
During the press conference, which lasted less than 11-minutes and was not open to questions from the media, Biden did not offer any new proposals for the “bold action” that would be required to prevent the spread of the virus. In fact, only at the end of the event did the former vice president broach a specific recommendation for how to stop the spread of the virus. Even that point — that people should continue wearing masks and practice social distancing, though, was made in a larger political context about needing to end the “politicization of basic responsible public health steps.”
Biden’s ambiguous calls for “bold action” came after thousands of his supporters crowded cities across the country over the weekend to celebrate media outlets calling the 2020 presidential contests in favor of the Democrat ticket. The crowds were visible on the streets of New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, among other major urban areas during both Saturday and Sunday.
While most of the participants appeared to be wearing masks, few seemed to be following the social distancing guidelines suggested by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to prevent the spread of the outbreak. The CDC, in particular, has warned individuals, especially those at high-risk for the virus, to avoid crowded spaces and maintain at least a distance of six feet. In some instances, the coronavirus has also been found to be airborne and linger “for minutes to hours,” and as such, individuals have been told to exercise caution — even in outdoor environments with proper ventilation.
More troubling, apart from violating social distancing guidelines, is that some members of the crowds were seen sharing beverages in celebration of the media labeling Biden president-elect. The conservative-leaning Federalist captured such a moment in front of the White House on Saturday, with individuals taking turns drinking from a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne.
Biden supporters pass a bottle of Veuve Clicquot outside the White House pic.twitter.com/mOdgWtRDCx
— The Federalist (@FDRLST) November 7, 2020
The former vice president, however, did not address such actions during his remarks on Monday. Instead, Biden chose to broadly urge Americans to put aside political differences and “wear a mask” for the foreseeable future.
“The election is over. … I won’t be president until January 20, but my message today is to everyone,” Biden said. “It doesn’t matter who you voted … we can save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months.”