In a statement released on Sunday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden responded to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ suggestion that the United States is “not going to control” the coronavirus pandemic, The Hill reported.
Meadows made the comments during an appearance on CNN, seemingly arguing that the U.S. should focus on developing therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19, instead of trying to slow down the spread of the virus.
Biden said that Meadows essentially admitted that Donald Trump has surrendered and that he has no clear plan to tackle the unprecedented public health crisis.
“This wasn’t a slip by Meadows, it was a candid acknowledgment of what President Trump’s strategy has clearly been from the beginning of this crisis: to wave the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away.”
Biden argued that simple measures like social distancing and mask-wearing could significantly reduce the spread of the disease and save lives. He pointed to a recent study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which established that universal masking could save up to 100,000 lives over the next few months.
The Democrat then called on Trump to listen to experts and implement public health measures.
“It’s long past time for [Trump] and his administration to listen to the scientists, take action, and finally take seriously the threat of a virus that’s costing thousands of lives each week, shuttering our schools, and forcing millions of Americans out of work,” he said.
Biden added that it is “sadly no surprise” that COVID-19 continues to ravage the United States, pointing out that the dangerous disease has reached the White House, infecting multiple staffers and even Trump himself.
As The Hill noted, several aides to Vice President Mike Pence and his chief of staff, Marc Short, have also tested positive for coronavirus.
Still, Trump has long tried to downplay the severity of the pandemic. Most recently, during a campaign rally in North Carolina, he blamed the latest increase in cases on widespread testing.
Biden has released a detailed plan to fight COVID-19. Per CNBC, during a press conference earlier this week, the Democratic nominee said that he would, if elected, collaborate with governors and state officials and push Congress to pass a massive stimulus package.
Biden also said that he would ask governors to impose a mask mandate, launch a national testing plan, utilize the Defense Production Act to produce the necessary medical equipment, safely reopen the country, and ensure that treatments are developed as soon as possible.