Former Vice President Joe Biden "would shut [the United States] down again" if elected, to get the coronavirus under control. The Democratic nominee in the 2020 presidential election gave an interview on ABC News' World News Tonight on Friday to discuss his plans for assuming office. Chief among them were steps to contain the COVID-19 by heeding the advice of public health experts.
"I would shut it down, I would listen to the scientists," Biden told anchor David Muir in the interview. "I will be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country moving, until we control the virus. That is the fundamental flaw of this administration's thinking to begin with. In order to keep the country running and moving and the economy growing, and people employed, you have to fix the virus, you have to deal with the virus."
Biden appeared alongside his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, in their first joint appearance on TV. The two accepted their nominations from the rest of the Democratic party at the DNC 2020 this week.
Biden posed his commitment to containing the coronavirus pandemic as a counter to that of the incumbent President Donald Trump. Trump has emphasized his plans for revitalizing the economy amid the recession caused by COVID-19, while frequently implying that the virus itself is behind us.
Public health experts disagree, warning of another massive wave of new infections in the coming months. Already, states that have relaxed their stay-at-home orders and returned to normal life in shared public spaces have seen spikes in new cases and new deaths.
"Our current president has failed in his most basic duty to this nation," Biden said. "He failed to protect us. He failed to protect America. And, my fellow Americans, that is unforgivable."
Biden may have been referring to presidential powers and responsibilities that Trump was criticized for ignoring as the coronavirus pandemic got worse. He placed lots of duty in the hands of state governors when pundits said he had the legal authority to unify the nation's coronavirus response in some respects. It is not clear which measures he intends to take if elected president.
Biden has been leading in polls in recent weeks, with RealClearPolitics showing him 7.4 points ahead of Trump in their latest tally. However, with the Republican National Convention expected to grab the same spotlight as the DNC next week, many expect a shift as attention turns to the GOP.