Biden’s plan to combat COVID-19

Image by Jim Bourg, Reuters,

Editor’s note: The following is adapted and updated from “Biden just laid out his plan for coronavirus. We may end up needing it”.

Biden’s plan to combat COVID-19

Over the past few months, Joe Biden has talked regularly about the coronavirus pandemic, both to criticize President Trump’s handling of the crisis and to explain what he would do differently. He has already released a rather lengthy plan laying it all out.

Trump’s failure to address the pandemic has been so comprehensive and so catastrophic that when Biden becomes president, this will likely be his first and most important task — dealing with a public health crisis that still grips the country.

“I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases expert, recently testified to Congress. 50,000 or more new cases a day now seem typical, and that is exactly what the current administration asks us to accept as the cost of doing business.

In Fourth of July remarks, Trump said the U.S. was testing too much and asserted that “by so doing, we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless”,  a claim refuted by FDA head, Dr. Stephen Hahn. And now we are back to an inadequate supply of PPE. While we know now that wearing masks is the best approach to limit virus transmission; masks have become a partisan issue, with supporters of the president insisting that not wearing them is how you show your loyalty to your leader.

As of July 9th, the USA has over 3 million COVID-19 cases with over 132,500 deaths, leading the world with more than 25% of all cases, despite only having 5% of the world’s population. Florida’s cases have surged, more than doubling over the last two weeks to exceed 232,000, with deaths exceeding 4,100 and ICU beds in short supply.

To address this resurgence, Biden gave a speech on June 30th, reiterating what he would do to confront the virus.  In his speech, Biden outlined a new version of his pandemic plan. Here are the main components:

  • Deploy 100,000 contact tracers, coordinated and funded by the federal government,
  • Provide free nationwide coronavirus testing,
  • More personal protective equipment for front-line workers, especially health-care workers,
  • Lead a global effort to find and produce treatments and vaccines,
  • Release nationwide guidelines that states can adopt for reopening when the virus begins to get under control, and
  • Issue more steps to protect vulnerable populations, including seniors, people of color and essential workers.

Biden stated that: “If it feels like you’re hearing the experts talk about the same issues for months, you’d be right. These have always been the steps the government needed to put in place to meet the threat. Statewide lockdowns that so many Americans lived under for months were intended to buy us time to get our act together. Instead of using that time to prepare ourselves, Donald Trump squandered it. Now here we are, more than three months later, we’re hardly better prepared than we were in March. Infections are on the rise. The threat of massive spikes that overwhelm the capacity of our health care system is on the horizon. Americans, anxious and out of work, are fearful for their lives and their livelihoods. Donald Trump is doing next to nothing about it.”

This is one of the most painful things about the situation we’re in now, as we watch the number of cases go back up. Was all that we did — leaving our jobs, keeping our kids home from school, not seeing our friends and families — was all that for nothing? Are we right back where we started?

We may well be. And it wasn’t unavoidable. It wasn’t random. It wasn’t an accident. It was the direct result of actions taken by our political leadership, especially President Trump.  When Biden wins the election, come January 20th he may have to immediately put in place his plan to contain the virus. Read his full plan here.