WILMINGTON – Emerging from a 90-minute meeting with seven public health experts on Wednesday afternoon, Joe Biden blasted President Donald Trump’s continuing response to the ongoing COVID-19 health emergency.
The Democratic presidential nominee pointed to the president’s response at a Tuesday night televised town hall as revealing “in no uncertain terms the lack of seriousness with which he continues to take this pandemic,” he said at The Queen theater in Wilmington.
Mr. Biden referenced a University of Washington study projecting a virus spike in November, along with another 215,000 Americans dying by the end of the year.
“We need leadership right now to prevent that from happening,” according to Mr. Biden, who said the model showed universal masking could save more than 100,000 lives.
“Even Donald Trump’s own director of the CDC told us that wearing a mask is the single-most important step we can take to curb this virus,” Mr. Biden said.
“He said I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.'”
On vaccines, Mr. Biden said the experts emphasized the importance of “preparing now for the swift, organized, and free distribution of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.”
According to Mr. Biden, “Americans have had to endure President Trump’s incompetence and dishonesty when it came to testing and personal protective equipment.
“We cannot afford a repeat of those fiascoes when it comes to a vaccine. The stakes are too high, American families have already suffered and sacrificed far too much.
“So let me be clear, I trust vaccines. I trust the scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump – and the American people can’t either.”
Once a safe and effective vaccine is developed, “distributing a vaccine to the entire population is as complex and challenging as the most sensitive military operation, I’ve been calling for an effective distribution plan for months.” Mr. Biden said.
“If I am elected president, I will begin implementing an effective distribution plan from the minute I take office. That is what I discussed with the experts in the briefing today.
“It will include: a detailed timeline for when people will get the vaccine, a clear delineation of priority populations, the specific means and mechanisms of shipping and storage at appropriate temperatures, the division of responsibility at every level of government.”
Mr. Biden and vice presidential running mate Kamala Harris have challenged the White House administration for specifics on what will constitute a valid vaccine.
“If Donald Trump can give honest answers to these questions – the American people should have the confidence and transparency they need to trust a vaccine and adopt it in numbers that make a difference,” he said.
First, what criteria will be used to ensure that a vaccine meets the scientific standard of safety and effectiveness?
“Second, if the administration greenlights a vaccine – who will validate that the decision was driven by science rather than politics?
“Third, how can we be sure that the distribution of the vaccine will take place – safely, cost-free, and without a hint of favoritism?”
If elected president, Mr. Biden maintained, “I will begin implementing an effective distribution plan from the minute I take office.
“That is what I discussed with the experts in the briefing today.
“It will include: a detailed timeline for when people will get the vaccine, a clear delineation of priority populations, the specific means and mechanisms of shipping and storage at appropriate temperatures, the division of responsibility at every level of government …”.
Regarding Mr. Biden’s remarks, Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Joyce released a statement that read:
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ dangerous rhetoric on doubting the effectiveness of a potential vaccine is putting American lives at risk.
“Meanwhile, President Trump and Vice President Pence have made sure that Operation Warp Speed produces a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine in record time to save all American lives.”
Also, Delaware Trump Campaign state Chairman Rob Arlett said “Joe Biden can’t seem to keep the record straight on almost anything and now we can add his position on a COVID-19 vaccine to the list.
“Joe Biden is putting American lives at risk with his fear mongering tactics while President Trump has safely reopened the economy and come close to developing a safe and effective vaccine through Operation Warp Speed.”