Joe Biden said he would be in favor of sending the United States into a second national lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus — if that were the recommendation of top scientists.
The Democratic candidate spoke to ABC News for an interview set to air in full on Sunday, saying he is willing to take the lead of experts and do whatever was needed to control the spread of the coronavirus. He criticized Donald Trump for what he saw as a “fundamental flaw” of believing he could press for the U.S. economy to open again without properly taking action to slow its spread.
“I will be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country moving, until we control the virus,” Biden said. “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’s campaign has released a detailed plan explaining how he would combat the coronavirus, including ensuring that testing was free and widely available. He said the United States must be willing to spend whatever it takes to meet public health needs and fix the economic impacts of the pandemic. Biden has also touted his past experience leading responses to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and the 2014 Ebola epidemic.
Trump has voiced opposition to more stringent measures to combat the coronavirus, long voicing his opposition to wearing a mask until changing course in recent weeks and wearing one at times during appearances. He has called to “liberate” a number of states with Democratic governors while they were slowly lifting restrictions mid-April. As the summer neared an end, he was vocal in calling for schools to reopen for in-person learning, even as many local leaders raised doubts about whether it would be safe to do so.
Biden has consistently sought to show the contrast between how he would handle the outbreak as president and what he sees as missteps from Trump. He seized on a remark that appeared to raise the idea of ingesting or injecting disinfectant as a way to combat coronavirus and backed Dr. Anthony Fauci after the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases came under criticism from the president. Amid rumors that Fauci could be removed from his position, Biden said he would always have a place within his administration.